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John  Charles 


Travels  from  1838  to  1844 




John  Charles  Fremont 

Volume  1 :  Travels  from  1838  to  1844 
and  Map  Portfolio 



"Railroads  followed  the  lines  of  his  jour- 
neyings — a  nation  followed  his  maps  to 
their  resting  place — and  cities  have  risen 
on  the  ashes  of  his  lonely  campfires,"  wrote 
Jessie  Benton  Fremont  after  the  death  of 
her  husband.  She  was  speaking  of  a  man 
whose  exploits,  commendable  and  other- 
wise, made  him  one  of  the  best-known  fig- 
ures of  the  last  century. 

John  Charles  Fremont  (1813-90)  ex- 
plored the  American  West  at  a  time  when 
thousands  of  migrants  were  hungry  for  in- 
formation, and  thus  became — with  the 
possible  exception  of  Lewis  and  Clark — 
the  most  acclaimed  traveler  of  the  nine- 
teenth century  in  the  lands  beyond  the 
Missouri  River.  He  married  the  daughter 
of  a  powerful  western  senator,  Thomas 
Hart  Benton,  and  added  the  advantages  of 
family  influence  to  his  own  store  of  in- 
genuity, endurance,  and  courage. 

Fremont's  expeditions  across  the  plains 
and  Rockies  added  much  to  the  nation's 
growing  body  of  knowledge  about  the 
West.  They  also  served  to  involve  him  in 
politics  and  high  finance,  where  he  was  far 
from  successful.  He  was  the  first  presi- 
dential candidate  of  the  new  Republican 
Party  in  1856,  losing  the  race  to  Buchanan. 
He  made  a  fortune  by  developing  gold 
mines  in  California,  only  to  see  it  slip 
away  in  dubious  financial  schemes  after 
the  Civil  War.  He  played  a  major  role  in 
the  conquest  of  California,  then  was  court- 
martialed  for  his  early  failure  to  recognize 
Stephen  Watts  Kearny  as  governor.  His 

(Continued  on  bacl^  flap) 


John  Charles  Fremont 

John  Charles  Fremont  as  he  looked  about   1849.  From  a   print  in 
Walter  Colton's  Three  Years  in  California  (New  York,  1850). 


John  Charles 


Travels  from  1838  to  1844 





John  Charles  Fremont 


Allan  Nevins  (chairman) 

Herman  R.  Friis 

Robert  W.  Johannsen 

Dale  L.  Morgan 

©  1970  by  the  Board  of  Trustees  of  the  University  of  Illinois. 

Manufactured  in  the  United  States  of  America. 

Library  of  Congress  Catalog  Card  No.  73-100374. 

252  00086  2 


The  preparation  of  the  first  volume  and  Map  PortfoUo  of  Fremont's 
travels  began  in  1965.  Since  then  the  editors  have  solicited  advice  and 
assistance  from  scores  of  persons  and  institutions  all  over  the  United 
States— and  a  few  abroad.  To  each  we  are  profoundly  grateful,  but 
we  must  be  content  to  name  specifically  only  those  institutions 
which  provided  funds  for  research  and  publication. 

The  National  Historical  Publications  Commission  gave  its  early 
endorsement  to  the  undertaking,  and  provided  not  only  search  facil- 
ities in  the  National  Archives  but  also  funds  for  the  payment  of 
wages.  The  Research  Board  of  the  University  of  Illinois  gave  gener- 
ously, as  always,  for  the  cost  of  wages,  travel,  photocopies,  and  other 
necessities.  The  University  of  Illinois  Press,  going  beyond  its  tradi- 
tional role  as  publisher,  became  an  actual  sponsor  of  the  project, 
providing  released  time  for  the  senior  editor,  office  space  for  both 
editors,  and  other  considerations. 

We  are  also  grateful  to  Miss  Jessie  Benton  Fremont,  of  Washing- 
ton, D.C.,  the  granddaughter  of  John  Charles  Fremont,  for  repre- 
senting the  family  in  granting  us  permission  to  use  certain  papers 
not  in  government  repositories. 

30  June  1970 

Donald  Jackson 

Mary  Lee  Spence 



Introduction  ^^^^ 

Symbols  xliii 

Early  Years  and  the  1842  Expedition  to  South  Pass 

1.  J.  J.  ABERT  to  FREMONT,  1 6  APRIL  1 838  3 

2.  EXCERPT  FROM  THE  M^Wo/r/,  [1838]  4 

3.  FREMONT  TO  MRS.  ANN  B.  HALE,  6  JUNE   1 838  10 

4.  FREMONT  TO  JOEL  R.  POINSETT,  8  JUNE   1838  12 

5.  EXCERPT  FROM  THE  Mcmoirs,  [1838]  13 

6.  FREMONT  TO  HENRY  H.  SIBLEY,  16  JULY  1 838  20 

7.  FREMONT  TO  JOEL  R.  POINSETT,  5  SEPT.   1 838  21 


18  OCT.  1838  25 

9.  FRAGMENT  OF  A  FREMONT  JOURNAL,  [22-26  OCT.  1838]  25 

10.  J.  J.  ABERT  TO  FREMONT,  26  OCT.   1838  28 


12  NOV.  1838  28 

12.  JOSEPH  N.  NICOLLET  TO  F.  R.  HASSLER,  26  DEC.   1 838  3O 

13.  FINANCIAL  RECORDS,   1838  3^ 

14.  FREMONT  TO  J.  J.  ABERT,   I   JAN.   1839  44 

15.  J.  J.  ABERT  TO  FREMONT,  4  JAN.   1839  44 

16.  J.  J.  ABERT  TO  FREMONT,  2  MARCH   1839  45 


2  MARCH  1839  4" 

18.  J.  J.  ABERT  TO  JOSEPH  N.  NICOLLET,  4  MARCH   1 839  47 

19.  J.  J.  ABERT  TO  FREMONT,  5  MARCH   1 839  48 

20.  FREMONT  TO  HENRY  H.  SIBLEY,  4  APRIL   1839  48 

21.  GEORGE  M.  BROOKE  TO  FREMONT,  4  APRIL   1839  49 

22.  EXCERPT  FROM  THE  McmoirS,  [1839]  5^ 

23.  FINANCIAL  RECORDS,   1839  69 


24.  FREMONT  TO  JOEL  R.  POINSETT,  3  JAN.   184O  ^3 

25.  FREMONT  TO  J.  J.  ABERT,   10  NOV.   184O  84 

26.  J.  J.  ABERT  TO  FREMONT,   I9  NOV.   184O  85 

27.  FINANCIAL  RECORDS,   184O  ^5 

28.  J.   J.  ABERT  TO  JOEL  R.  POINSETT,  25  JAN.  184I  94 

29.  JOEL  R.  POINSETT  TO  LEVI  WOODBURY,  26  FEB.   1 84 1  95 

30.  J.  J.  ABERT  TO  FREMONT,  4  JUNE   184I  9" 

31.  JOSEPH  N.  NICOLLET  TO  FREMONT,   II   JULY  1 84 1  97 

32.  FREMONT  TO  RAMSAY  CROOKS,   12  AUG.   184I  99 

33.  FREMONT  TO  RAMSAY  CROOKS,  I5  SEPT.   184I  100 

34.  J.  J.  ABERT  TO  FREMONT,   10  OCT.   184I  lOI 


36.  FINANCIAL  RECORDS,   1 84 1  IO4 

37.  FREMONT  TO  J.  J.  ABERT,   I4  APRIL   1842,  AND  DES  MOINES 


38.  J.  J.  ABERT  TO  FREMONT,  25  APRIL   1842  121 

39.  J.  J.  ABERT  TO  FREMONT,  25  APRIL   1842  122 

40.  J.  J.  ABERT  TO  FREMONT,  9  MAY   1842  I23 

41.  J.  J.  ABERT  TO  FREMONT,  26  MAY   1842  I23 

42.  CONTRACT  WITH  HONORE  AYOT,  [26  MAY  1842]  I24 

43.  BENJAMIN  CLAPP  TO  ANDREW  DRIPS,  3O  MAY   1 842  I25 

44.  J.  J.  ABERT  TO  FREMONT,  8  JULY   1842  I26 


28  JULY  1842  127 


I  AUG.  1842  128 

47.  J.  J.  ABERT  TO  FREMONT,   I3  AUG.   1842  I28 

48.  FREMONT  TO  JOHN  TORREY,   16  NOV.   1842  I28 

49.  JOHN  TORREY  TO  ASA  GRAY,  1 8  NOV.   1 842  1 30 

50.  FREMONT  TO  JOSEPH  N.  NICOLLET,  27  NOV.   1842  I3I 

51.  ASA  GRAY  TO  JOHN  TORREY,  [5  DEC.  1 842]  133 

52.  FREMONT  TO  J.  C.  EDWARDS,   10  DEC.   1842  134 

53.  FINANCIAL  RECORDS,   1842  13^ 

54.  ASA  GRAY  TO  JOHN  TORREY,  [fEB.  1843]  15^ 

55.  J.  J.  ABERT  TO  THOMAS  H.  BENTON,   10  MARCH   1843  159 

56.  J.  J.  ABERT  TO  FREMONT,   10  MARCH   1843  160 

57.  FREMONT  TO  JOHN  TORREY,  II  MARCH  1843  161 

58.  J.  J.  ABERT  TO  FREMONT,   I4  MARCH   1843  ^^4 

59.  THOMAS  H.  BENTON  TO  FREMONT,  20  MARCH   1843  164 

60.  FREMONT  TO  JOHN  TORREY,  21   MARCH   1 843  165 

61.  Report  OF  the  first  expedition,  1843  '^^ 

REPORT  169 
catalogue  of  plants  collected  by  lieutenant  FREMONT 

in  his  expedition  to  the  rocky  mountains, 

by  john  torrey  286 

astronomical  observations  312 

meteorological  observations  317 

The  Expedition  of  1843-44  to  Oregon  and  California 

62.  john  torrey  to  asa  gray,  26  march  1 843  34 1 

63.  j.  j.  abert  to  fremont,  22  april  1 843  342 

64.  j.  j.  abert  to  fremont,  2.6  april  1 843  342 

65.  fremont  to  stephen  watts  kearny,  [ca.  8  may  1843]  343 

66.  p.  chouteau,  jr.,  and  company  to  employees  of  the 

company,  10  may  1843  344 

67.  j,  j.  abert  to  fremont,  i5  may  1843  344 

68.  j.  j.  abert  to  fremont,  22  may  1 843  345 

69.  george  engelmann  to  asa  gray,  4  june  1 843  346 

70.  j.  j.  abert  to  robert  campbell,  22  june  1843  347 

71.  j.  j.  abert  to  jessie  benton  fremont,  23  june  1843  349 

72.  j.  j,  abert  to  robert  campbell,  3  july  1 843  350 

73.  j.  j.  abert  to  thomas  h.  benton,  10  july  1843  350 

74.  jessie  benton  fremont  to  adelaide  talbot, 

16  SEPT.  1843  352 

75.  J.  J.  ABERT  TO  ROBERT  CAMPBELL,  18  SEPT.   1 843  353 

76.  FREMONT  TO  J.   J.  ABERT,  24  NOV.   1 843  354 


78.  J.   J.  ABERT  TO  ROBERT  CAMPBELL,   I3  DEC.   1843  355 




24  MARCH  1844  360 


83.  FREMONT  TO  J.  J.  ABERT,  21   AUG.    [1844]  3^^ 


84.  FREMONT  TO  WILLIAM  WILKINS,  28  AUG.   1844  363 

85.  RUDOLPH  BIRCHER  TO  FREMONT,   I5  SEPT.   1844  365 

86.  FREMONT  TO  JOHN  TORREY,   I5  SEPT.   1 844  366 

87.  ASA  GRAY  TO  JOHN  TORREY,  I  OCT.    [1844]  3^9 

88.  FREMONT  TO  JOHN  TORREY,  6  OCT.   1 844  37O 

89.  FREMONT  TO  GEORGE  ENGELMANN,  22  OCT.   1844  37I 

90.  FREMONT  TO  JOHN  TORREY,  28  OCT.   1 844  372 

91.  FREMONT  TO  JOHN  TORREY,  21  NOV.   1 844  373 

92.  FREMONT  TO  JOHN  TORREY,  3  DEC.   1844  374 

93.  GEORGE  ENGELMANN  TO  ASA  GRAY,  6  DEC.   1844  375 

94.  FREMONT  TO  JOHN  TORREY,  3O  DEC.   1844  375 

95.  FINANCIAL  RECORDS,   I   JAN.   1843-3I  DEC.   1844  377 


97.  FREMONT  TO  JOHN  TORREY,   12  JAN.   1845  39I 

98.  ASA  GRAY  TO  JOHN  TORREY,   [l2  JAN.   1845.'^]  392 

99.  J.  J.  ABERT  TO  JOHN  J.  AUDUBON,  22  JAN.   1845  393 

100.  ASA  GRAY  TO  JOHN  TORREY,  28  JAN.    [1845]  394 

101.  FREMONT  TO  JOHN  TORREY,  7  FEB.   1845  395 

102.  J.  J.  ABERT  TO  FREMONT,   12  FEB.   1845  395 

103.  FREMONT  TO  JOHN  TORREY,  26  FEB.   1845  397 

104.  FREMONT  TO  JOHN  TORREY,  26  FEB.   1845  398 

105.  J.  J.  ABERT  TO  FREMONT,   I  MARCH   1845  399 

106.  J.  J.  ABERT  TO  FREMONT,  5  MARCH  1845  399 

107.  FREMONT  TO  GEORGE  TALCOTT,   10  MARCH  1 845  4OO 

108.  FREMONT  TO  JOHN  TORREY,   I3  MARCH    [1845]  4OO 

109.  FREMONT  TO  [eDWARD  M.  KERn],  20  MARCH  1845  4OI 

110.  FREMONT  TO  JOHN  TORREY,  23  MARCH   1845  402 

111.  J.  J.  ABERT  TO  FREMONT,  25  MARCH   1 845  4O3 

112.  FREMONT  TO  JOHN  TORREY,  27  MARCH   1845  4O3 

113.  FREMONT  TO  JOHN  TORREY,  3O  MARCH   1 845  404 

114.  FREMONT  TO  JOHN  TORREY,  4  APRIL   1845  4O4 

115.  FREMONT  TO  MRS.  TOWNSEND,  4  APRIL   [1845?]  405 

116.  FREMONT  TO  JOHN  TORREY,  7  APRIL   1845  406 

117.  FREMONT  TO  JOHN  TORREY,  8  APRIL   1845  406 

118.  J.  J.  ABERT  TO  FREMONT,   10  APRIL   1845  407 

119.  FREMONT  TO  JOHN  BAILEY,   II  APRIL   1845  408 

120.  FREMONT  TO  JOHN  TORREY,   [CA.  I5  APRIL  1845]  409 


121.  FREMONT  TO  JOHN  TORREY,  l8  APRIL   1845  4IO 

122.  FREMONT  TO  STEPHEN  COOPER,  22  APRIL   1845  4II 

123.  ASA  GRAY  TO  JOHN  TORREY,  23  APRIL   [1845]  412 

124.  THOMAS  H.  BENTON  TO   [wiLLIAM  L.  MARCy],  25  APRIL  1845       414 

125.  J.  J.  ABERT  TO  FREMONT,  26  APRIL   1845  415 

126.  FREMONT  TO  EDWARD  M.  KERN,   I  MAY   1845  415 

127.  J.  J.  ABERT  TO  FREMONT,  2  MAY   1845  416 

128.  CASPAR  WISTAR  TO  T.  HARTLEY  CRAWFORD,  5  MAY   1845  417 

129.  FREMONT  TO  JOHN  TORREY,  7  MAY   1 845  418 

130.  FREMONT  TO  J.  J.  ABERT,  9  MAY  1845  419 

131.  FREMONT  TO  JOHN  TORREY,  I4  MAY   1845  420 

132.  J.  J.  ABERT  TO  ASBURY  DICKINS,  I4  MAY   1845  421 

133.  J.  J.  ABERT  TO  FREMONT,   I4  MAY   1 845  422 

134.  FREMONT  TO  JOHN  TORREY,   18  MAY  1845  423 

135.  FREMONT  TO  ARCHIBALD  CAMPBELL,  22  MAY   1 845  424 

136.  J.  J.  ABERT  TO  FREMONT,  2.6  MAY   1 845  425 


NORTH  CALIFORNIA  IN  THE  YEARS   1 843-44  426 




J.  c.  Fremont's  exploring  expedition  to 


1843-44:  BY  JOHN  TORREY 

AND  J.  C.  FREMONT  758 


Bibliography  807 

Index  819 



hot  springs  gate 
devil's  gate 






















Prosopis  odorata  7"^ 

Arctomecon  calijornka  7"7 

Fremontia  vermicularis  77^ 

Pinus  monophyllus  775 



BEAR  RIVER  between  470  and  471 



RIO  DE  LOS  AMERICANOS  between  662  and  663 



The  career  of  John  Charles  Fremont  was  marred  by  disasters 
large  and  small,  but  his  successes  were  monumental.  His  character 
was  flawed  by  vanity  and  by  hunger  for  recognition  and  financial 
gain,  but  there  was  enough  toughness  of  spirit  to  carry  him  five  times 
across  the  plains  and  Rockies  under  conditions  of  intense  privation, 
leading  bands  of  courageous  men.  In  his  lifetime  some  good  men 
loved  him  and  others  despised  or  mistrusted  him.  Even  today  there 
are  strongly  differing  points  of  view  about  his  motives  and  his 
methods,  but  there  is  less  dispute  about  his  place  in  the  history  of 
his  century. 

Fremont's  activities  in  the  West,  and  his  published  reports,  af- 
fected the  lives  of  thousands  of  migrants  who  plied  the  Oregon  and 
California  trails.  His  success  as  an  explorer,  his  interest  in  politics, 
and  his  marriage  to  the  daughter  of  Senator  Thomas  Hart  Benton 
of  Missouri  made  him  a  familiar  and  sometimes  influential  figure 
in  Washington.  He  played  a  major  role  in  the  conquest  of  Califor- 
nia, only  to  be  court-martialed  for  his  early  failure  to  recognize 
Stephen  Watts  Kearny  as  governor.  He  was  the  first  presidential 
standard  bearer  of  the  newly  formed  Republican  Party  in  1856.  His 
commission  as  major  general  in  the  Civil  War,  and  his  handling  of 
his  two  brief  commands,  involved  him  in  controversy  and  earned 
him  the  disfavor  of  Abraham  Lincoln. 

After  acquiring  great  riches  in  the  development  of  gold  mines  on 
the  Mariposa  grant  in  California,  he  lost  the  Mariposa  and  much  of 
his  wealth  in  financial  schemes  after  the  Civil  War.  At  last  he  was 
surviving  by  means  of  sinecures — such  as  the  governorship  of  Ari- 
zona Territory — and  the  income  from  the  writings  of  his  wife, 
Jessie  Benton  Fremont.  When  he  died  on  13  July  1890  he  was 
nearly  a  pauper.  Fremont's  proudest  legacy  was  what  he  had  done 
before  the  age  of  forty,  exploring  the  West  and  making  it  known — 
through  his  narratives — to  a  nation  hungry  to  know. 


These  volumes  will  deal  with  those  first  forty  years  of  his  life,  and 
how  they  affected  the  future  of  the  nation. 

If  one  factor  alone  sets  Fremont  apart  from  his  most  notable  pred- 
ecessors in  the  field  of  U.S.  exploration,  it  is  the  accident  of  time. 
He  was  ready,  and  the  public  was  ready,  to  turn  all  eyes  to  the  West 
and  discover  what  it  had  to  hold  for  the  mass  of  men.  If  Lewis  and 
Clark  had  been  able  to  carry  out  their  travels  under  such  strong 
public  scrutiny,  they,  too,  might  have  been  considered  "dashing 
figures."  They  lacked  the  aid  of  a  blustering  press  agent  such  as 
Thomas  Hart  Benton  (although  having  President  Thomas  Jefferson 
as  a  sponsor  was  not  bad),  but  mainly  they  lacked  an  impatient  pub- 
lic. Their  public  was  curious,  patient,  proud,  but  with  no  thought  in 
1804-6  of  an  Oregon  Trail,  an  ox  team  and  wagon,  or  a  new  life 
waiting  beyond  the  Mississippi  or  the  Rockies. 

Although  time  was  on  Fremont's  side,  and  he  had  strong  sup- 
porters in  Secretary  of  War  Joel  Poinsett  and  Senator  Benton,  he 
brought  attributes  of  his  own  to  the  making  of  the  Fremont  legend. 
He  brought  audacity,  courage,  and  a  quick  mind  which  had  ab- 
sorbed a  good  deal  of  knowledge  in  the  fields  of  natural  history, 
geography,  and  surveying.  He  also  brought  Jessie  into  the  picture — 
a  beautiful  and  talented  girl,  inheritor  of  her  father's  concern  for 
power  and  prestige,  and  with  an  ability  to  write  which  would  pro- 
vide young  Fremont  with  a  lifelong  amanuensis  and  ghost-writer. 

Senator  Benton  aided  the  young  explorer  in  many  ways,  but  no 
one  can  say  that  he  freely  gave  his  daughter  in  marriage;  young  John 
Charles  accomplished  that  on  his  own.  Together,  John  Charles  and 
Jessie  comprised  a  team  such  as  one  does  not  find  again  in  U.S. 
history,  perhaps  until  another  truly  dashing  pair — George  Arm- 
strong Custer  and  his  wife  Elizabeth — appear  upon  the  scene.  And  to 
stretch  the  analogy  just  a  bit,  Charles  and  Anne  Morrow  Lindbergh 
come  to  mind  in  more  recent  times. 

Back  again  to  the  importance  of  the  period,  and  the  social  and 
political  climate  in  which  Fremont  was  to  operate.  It  is  well  known 
that  his  expeditions,  especially  the  first  two,  often  followed  the 
trails  of  other  wagon  trains.  It  is  important,  though,  to  say  some 
wagon  trains,  and  very  early  ones  at  that.  We  present  a  note  (p. 
I73n)  which  indicates  how  really  early  in  the  migration  period  his 
operations  began.  Only  two  emigrant  trains  had  preceded  him:  the 
John  Bartleson  party  to  California  in  1841,  and  the  Elijah  White 
party  to  Oregon  in  1842. 


It  is  almost  impossible  to  overstate  the  enthusiasm  with  which  the 
nation  greeted  the  printed  reports  of  the  first  two  western  expedi- 
tions. The  first  publication,  which  in  our  edition  begins  on  p.  168, 
introduced  a  new  kind  of  intelligence  from  the  West:  readable  nar- 
rative combined  with  competent  maps,  both  produced  from  personal 
observation.  But  it  carried  the  reader  only  to  the  Rockies.  It  was  the 
second  report  (p.  426),  with  its  description  of  the  route  via  Laramie, 
Fort  Hall,  and  Walla  Walla  to  the  lush  Oregon  valleys,  then  on 
through  the  length  of  California  and  back  across  the  southwestern 
deserts,  that  made  Fremont's  reputation  secure. 

It  seemed  natural  that  members  of  the  Congress  should  wish  the 
two  reports  issued  as  one  volume,  with  a  single  map  of  the  entire 
area  covered.  The  records  of  Congress  contain  many  a  letter  or 
memorandum  (some  of  which  we  cite)  dealing  with  delays  in  pub- 
lication, changes  in  printing  orders,  urgent  requests  for  copies  before 
they  were  finished.  There  was  a  dispute  in  the  House  over  whether 
members  of  the  previous  Congress,  not  re-elected,  should  receive 
copies — and  the  new  Congress  resolved  that  they  should  not.  And 
there  were  unconfirmed  reports  that  members  of  Congress  or  their 
employees  were  selling  copies  to  the  public. 

The  many  editions  issued  by  trade  publishers  were  not  long  in 
coming.  By  1846,  L.  W.  Hall  in  Syracuse  had  issued  a  version  with 
no  maps  or  illustrations.  At  least  two  Washington  publishers  (Tay- 
lor, Wilde,  &  Co.,  and  H.  Polkinhorn)  published  their  own  editions, 
as  did  H.  E.  Phinney  in  Cooperstown,  N.Y.  Foreign  editions  in- 
cluded those  of  Wiley  &  Putnam,  London,  in  1846,  and  a  German 
version  in  1847. 

The  two  Washington  publishing  houses  which  had  been  awarded 
the  contract  for  the  combined  report  were  Gales  and  Seaton,  printers 
of  the  Daily  National  Intelligencer,  and  Blair  and  Rives,  publishers 
of  the  Congressional  Globe.  Both  of  these  publishers,  having  early 
access  to  the  report,  hastened  to  print  extracts  and  reviews.  The 
Intelligencer,  for  example,  ran  a  total  of  twenty-three  columns  be- 
tween 7  and  26  August  1845.  On  28  August  it  followed  with  three 
columns,  including  an  evaluation  of  the  second  expedition  and  some 
remarks  on  the  third,  which  was  then  in  progress. 

A  laudatory  review  appeared  in  the  July  1845  issue  of  the  United 
States  Magazine  and  Democratic  Review,  in  which  Lewis  and  Clark 
were  compared  unfavorably  to  Fremont: 


The  honorary  reward  of  Brevet  Captain  has  been  bestowed  upon  him. 
Lewis  and  Clark  received  something  more  substantial, — double  pay, 
sixteen  hundred  acres  of  land  each,  promotion  to  generals,  appointment 
of  governors,  commission  to  treat  with  Indians,  and  copy-right  in  their 
Journal.  Certainly  as  first  explorers,  they  were  entitled  to  great  merit; 
but  they  lack  the  science  which  Capt.  Fremont  carried  into  his  expedi- 
tions; and,  returning  on  the  same  line  by  which  they  went  out,  their  dis- 
coveries lack  the  breadth  and  variety  which  distinguish  his.  His  work 
was  lacking  [i.e.,  needed]  to  complete  the  view  of  the  great  region  from 
the  Mississippi  to  the  Pacific  ocean;  and  it  has  come  at  the  exact  moment 
that  it  was  most  wanted,  and  will  be  most  useful.  Great  events  are  pend- 
ing of  which  Oregon  is  the  subject.  .  .  .  We  assume  to  say  that  the  publi- 
cation of  this  Report  will  increase  the  emigration  to  Oregon,  and  will 
sharpen  the  appetite  of  two  great  nations  [Great  Britain  and  the  U.S.] 
for  the  possession  of  a  river  whose  mouth  happens  to  be  the  only  outlet 
to  the  sea.  .  .  . 

The  reviewer's  allusions  to  Lewis  and  Clark  could  have  profited  by 
a  bit  more  research,  but  his  enthusiasm  for  Fremont  typified  the 
mood  of  the  country. 

Other  great  events  were  to  follow:  the  third  expedition,  resulting 
in  Fremont's  involvement  in  the  conquest  of  California;  his  court- 
martial,  which  did  little  damage  to  his  own  public  image  and  gave 
California  an  untold  wealth  of  publicity;  and  then  the  unsuccessful 
campaign  for  the  presidency. 

Perhaps  the  loss  of  the  election  marked  the  moment  when  the 
bright  star  began  to  fade.  Perhaps  it  was  the  Civil  War,  during 
which  he  proved  to  be  no  military  man.  Somehow  the  years  sped  by, 
riches  came  and  went,  and  at  last  he  was  old.  It  is  certain  that  he  died 
poor,  but  less  certain  that  he  died  entirely  bitter — for  there  were 
bright  memories  to  temper  the  unhappy  ones  and  much  achievement 
mingled  with  his  many  failures.  Among  his  effects  at  the  time  of  his 
death  was  a  scrap  of  paper  bearing  a  poem  he  had  written  near  the 
end  of  his  life  as  he  was  crossing  the  Continental  Divide  on  a  train. 
Part  of  it  reads: 

Long  years  ago  I  wandered  here, 
In  the  midsummer  of  the  year. 

Life's  summer  too. 
A  score  of  horsemen  here  we  rode. 
The  mountain-world  its  glories  showed. 

All  fair  to  view. 


Now  changed  the  scene,  and  changed  the  eyes 
That  here  once  looked  on  glowing  skies 

When  summer  smiled. 
These  riven  trees  and  wind-swept  plain 
Now  shew  the  winter's  dread  domain — 

Its  fury  wild. 

The  buoyant  hopes  and  busy  life 
Have  ended  all  in  hateful  strife 

And  baffled  aim. 
The  world's  rude  contact  killed  the  rose, 
No  more  its  shining  radiance  shows 

False  roads  to  fame. 

Where  still  some  grand  peaks  mark  the  way 
Touched  by  the  light  of  parting  day 

And  memory's  sun. 
Backward  amid  the  twilight  glow 
Some  lingering  spots  yet  brightly  show 

On  roads  hard  won. 

The  verses  recalled  much,  and  Jessie  saved  them.  Then  she  penned 
a  sentence  of  her  own  which  summed  up  the  labors  of  a  valiant 
traveler  and  the  pride  of  a  devoted  wife.  "Railroads  followed  the 
lines  of  his  journeyings — a  nation  followed  his  maps  to  their  resting 
place — and  cities  have  risen  on  the  ashes  of  his  lonely  campfires 



When  John  Charles  Fremont  was  born,  21  January  1813,  his 
parents  already  had  scandalized  their  community  and  moved  away 
in  disgrace.  The  fact  that  they  never  married  was  to  plague  Fremont 
all  his  life,  but  particularly  during  the  presidential  race  of  1856 

^  The  poem  is  in  the  library  of  the  Southwest  Museum,  Los  Angeles,  and 
Jessie's  quotation  is  from  a  draft  manuscript,  "Great  Events  during  the  Life 
of  Major  General  John  C.  Fremont,"  Bancroft  Library,  Berkeley.  Hereafter, 
libraries  and  other  repositories  will  be  referred  to  by  the  symbols  used  in  the 
National  Union  Catalog  of  the  Library  of  Congress  (see  listing  on  pp. 


when  the  word  "illegitimate"  came  frequently  to  the  lips  of  his 
political  enemies. 

The  father  was  Charles  Fremon,  a  Frenchman  from  the  neigh- 
borhood of  Lyons,  said  to  have  made  his  way  to  Virginia  from  Santo 
Domingo.  One  biographer  says  he  was  on  his  way  to  join  an  aunt  in 
Santo  Domingo,  about  1800,  when  he  was  captured  by  an  English 
man-of-war  and  held  prisoner  for  a  few  years.^  Exactly  when  Fre- 
mon came  to  Virginia  is  not  known,  but  by  the  spring  of  1808  he 
seems  to  have  been  teaching  French  in  the  fashionable  academy 
operated  by  L.  H.  Girardin  and  David  Doyle,  near  Richmond. 
When  he  was  dismissed  after  a  year  on  the  grounds  that  he  was  not 
a  fit  person  to  give  instruction  to  young  ladies,  he  opened  a  night 
school  for  the  French  language  and  tutored  in  private  homes.  He 
later  rejoined  Girardin  at  a  new  location.^ 

By  this  time  he  had  rented  a  small  house  from  John  Pryor  and 
had  soon  alienated  the  affections  of  Mrs.  Pryor,  the  former  Ann 
Beverly  Whiting,  who  was  a  good  deal  younger  than  her  husband. 
One  source  says  the  two  lovers  actually  hoped  for  Pryor's  death  so 
that  they  might  marry.  Richmond  society  was  rocked  by  the  scandal 

^  BiGELow,  11-12.  This  1856  campaign  biography  was  prepared  from  ma- 
terial assembled  by  Jessie.  Some  of  the  problems  she  encountered,  particularly 
with  regard  to  JCF's  mother,  are  reflected  in  letters  to  Elizabeth  Blair  Lee, 
2  July  [1856],  and  to  John  Bigelow,  7  July  [1856],  in  the  Blair-Lee  Papers, 
NjP,  and  Bigelow  Collection,  NN.  Pierre-Georges  Roy,  a  Canadian  archivist, 
believes  that  JCF's  father  was  actually  Louis-Rene  Fremont  of  Quebec,  who 
established  himself  in  Virginia.  See  roy  [1]  and  [2].  It  is  not  clear  when  the 
"t"  was  added  to  the  name;  in  early  newspaper  advertisements  the  father's 
name  is  "Fremon."  In  fact,  receipts  for  French  and  dancing  lessons  in  the 
Wayne-Stites  Anderson  Papers,  GHi,  are  signed  "Jean  Charles  Fremon" 
though  Charles  Fremon  seems  to  have  been  the  common  form.  Young  Fre- 
mont was  variously  called  "J.C.,"  "J.  Charles,"  or  "Charles"  in  his  early  years. 
He  did  not  begin  to  use  the  accented  form  of  "Fremont"  until  he  began  his 
association  with  the  French  scientist  Joseph  N.  Nicollet. 

^  In  an  advertisement  in  the  Richmond  Enquirer  of  8  March  1808,  Girardin 
mentions  "a  well-qualified  native  of  France"  as  his  assistant.  Moncure  Robin- 
son (1802-91),  an  eminent  engineer,  claimed  that  he  studied  French  under 
Charles  Fremon  at  the  College  of  William  and  Mary  (osborne).  It  is  more 
likely  that  he  studied  under  Fremon  at  Girardin's  academy,  which  he  at- 
tended— as  did  also  Thomas  Jefferson's  grandson,  T.  Jefferson  Randolph.  For 
Fremon's  dismissal,  see  letter  of  David  Doyle  to  L.  H.  Girardin  in  the  Vir- 
ginia Patriot,  23  Aug.  1811.  For  Fremon's  proprietorship  of  his  own  school 
and  his  reaffiliation  with  Girardin,  see  advertisements  in  the  Richmond  En- 
quirer, 24,  27,  and  31  Oct.  and  10  and  14  Nov.  1809;  12  June, -27  July,  and  11 
Sept.  1810. 


in  July  1811.  Girardin  and  his  current  partner,  John  Wood,  lost  their 
academy  and  feuded  publicly  over  the  responsibility  for  the  hiring 
of  Fremon.  Finally  Mrs.  Pryor  left  her  husband's  bed  and  board 
and  went  with  Fremon  to  Williamsburg,  Norfolk,  and  then  Charles- 

In  a  divorce  petition  some  months  later,  Pryor  charged  that  his 
wife  had  left  the  house  voluntarily.  But  Ann  wrote  her  brother-in- 
law  that  she  had  been  "turned  out  of  doors  at  night  and  in  an  ap- 
proaching storm"  and  threatened  with  "the  most  cruel  and  violent 
treatment"  if  she  remained  in  the  house.  She  also  wrote  that  she  and 
Fremon  were  poor,  "but  we  can  be  content  with  little,  for  I  have 
found  that  happiness  consists  not  in  riches."  Pryor's  intention  of 
applying  to  the  Virginia  legislature  for  a  divorce  was  widely  circu- 
lated, and  of  course  Ann  hoped  that  he  would  succeed.  But  the 
House  of  Delegates  rejected  the  petition  13  December  1811  without 
giving  a  reason.'* 

By  the  fall  of  1811,  the  Fremons,  as  we  shall  now  call  the  pair 
although  apparently  they  were  never  able  to  marry,  were  in  Savan- 
nah, Ga.  During  the  next  year  Charles  tried  a  number  of  ways  to 
make  ends  meet:  he  gave  French  lessons,  worked  in  a  dancing 
academy,  took  in  boarders,  opened  his  own  dancing  school,  gave 
cotillion  parties,  and  opened  a  livery  stable  at  his  residence. 

So  it  was  that  John  Charles  Fremont  was  born  into  a  nomadic 

^  John  Pryor  was  a  veteran  officer  of  the  Revolution  who  kept  livery  stables 
in  Richmond  and  gave  the  city  its  first  amusement  resort,  Haymarket  Gar- 
dens. In  1811,  he  was  "far  advanced  in  years,"  according  to  his  divorce 
petition,  and  bigelow,  20,  says  he  was  sixty-two  when  he  married  seventeen- 
year-old  Ann  Whiting  in  1796.  But  he  was  vigorous  enough  to  take  the  field 
against  the  British  in  1813,  and  did  not  die  until  1823  (Richmond  Enquirer, 
9  Feb.  1813,  and  p.  c.  clark).  Ann  Beverly  Whiting  was  the  daughter  of 
the  wealthy  Thomas  Whiting,  a  burgess  for  Gloucester  in  1775-76,  and 
Elizabeth  Sewell.  She  was  born  shortly  before  the  death  of  her  father,  whose 
will  was  dated  15  Oct.  1780.  In  1796,  with  her  "full  consent"  and  that  of  her 
stepfather  and  guardian,  Maj.  Samuel  Carey,  she  was  married  to  Pryor.  See 
BIGELOW,  13-20,  and  Pryor's  manuscript  petition  for  divorce  of  1  Dec.  1811, 
Vi.  For  further  details  of  the  elopement  and  attempted  divorce,  see  letter  of 
John  Wood  to  the  public,  Virginia  Patriot,  26  July  1811;  letter  of  David 
Doyle  to  Girardin,  Patriot,  23  Aug.  1811;  advertisements  by  Wood  and 
Girardin  regarding  their  separation,  Richmond  Enquirer,  12  and  16  July 
1811.  No  surviving  copy  has  been  found  of  a  twenty-eight-page  pamphlet  pub- 
lished by  Girardin,  "pregnant  with  calumny  and  slander"  according  to  Wood. 
Ann's  letter  to  John  Lowry,  28  Aug.  1811,  was  abstracted  by  Pryor  in  support 
of  his  divorce  petition.  For  the  negative  decision  on  the  divorce,  see  Journal 
of  the  Virginia  House  of  Delegates,  181 1-12. 


family  of  unstable  finances  on  21  January  1813.  His  nurse  was  Han- 
nah, a  family  slave  who  had  apparently  been  recovered  after  run- 
ning away  the  previous  year.  We  know  little  about  the  next  few 
years  in  the  life  of  the  family.  They  left  Savannah,  and  a  daughter, 
who  died  in  infancy,  was  born  in  Nashville  in  1814.  From  there  the 
Fremons  apparently  wandered  to  Norfolk,  where  a  second  daugh- 
ter and  a  second  son  were  born  in  1815  and  1817.  After  Charles 
Fremon  died  in  1818,  his  widow  and  her  small  children  stayed  for 
a  time  in  Virginia,  and  John  Charles  received  his  first  schooling 
there.  They  were  in  Charleston  by  1823,  and  in  1826  young  John 
Charles  had  entered  the  law  office  of  John  W.  Mitchell.  Gone  now 
was  the  family  hope  that  he  would  become  an  Episcopal  minister, 
though  in  June  1827  he  was  confirmed  in  St.  Paul's  Church  by 
Bishop  Bowen  for  St.  Philip's  congregation.^ 

The  earliest  Fremont  document  which  has  come  to  our  attention 
derives  from  his  service  with  attorney  Mitchell.  It  is  a  subpoena 
issued  by  Mitchell  to  several  persons  and  given  to  sixteen-year-old 
John  Charles  to  serve.  An  endorsement  on  the  reverse  side  reads: 

J.  C.  Fremont  being  duly  sworn  deponeth  that  he  served  on  the 
within  named  witnesses  personally  this  writ  &  gave  them  tickets — 
except  the  witness  Alphy  Berney  whom  he  could  not  find. 

Sworn  to  before  me  14  July  1828  J.  Charles  Fremont 

J.  W.  Mitchell" 

^  For  sparse  information  about  the  Fremons  during  this  period,  see  ad- 
vertisements in  the  Columbian  Museum  &  Savannah  Advertiser,  3  Oct.  1811, 
and  in  the  Republican  and  Savannah  Evening  Ledger,  7  Dec,  1811;  2  Jan. 
and  31  Oct.  1812;  13  Feb.  1813.  The  assumption  that  the  Fremons  never 
married  is  based  on  the  fact  that  Pryor  did  not  die  until  1823,  five  years 
after  Fremon's  death.  There  is  no  record  that  Pryor  ever  received  his  divorce. 
The  MEMOIRS  and  bigelow  do  not  mention  the  birth  of  a  child  named  Ann  in 
Nashville,  but  see  roy  [1].  bigelow  indicates  that  the  youngest  daughter  (and 
for  him  the  only  daughter)  was  born  in  Nashville.  He  does  not  name  her  or 
the  younger  son.  roy  gives  their  names  as  Elizabeth  and  Thomas-Archibald, 
but  JCF's  letter  to  his  mother  on  8  June  1838  (our  Doc.  No.  3)  refers  to 
"Frank,"  presumably  his  brother. 

A  chronology  of  JCF's  life  in  the  New  York  Times,  21  July  1856,  puts  him 
in  school  in  Virginia  in  1820,  in  school  in  Charleston  in  1823,  and  in  Mitch- 
ell's law  office  in  1826.  His  confirmation  in  St.  Paul's  is  substantiated  by  rec- 
ords inspected  for  us  6  Oct.  1966  by  Sam  T.  Cobb,  rector  of  St.  Philip's. 

^  Subpoena  of  10  July  1828,  in  Mitchell's  hand,  with  JCF's  signature  on  the 
endorsement,  lU. 


Mitchell  apparently  concluded  that  the  pulpit,  rather  than  the 
bar,  might  be  the  better  profession  for  John  Charles  after  all,  and 
took  him  to  the  school  of  J.  Roberton,  who  prepared  boys  for  the 
College  of  Charleston.  It  is  from  Roberton  that  we  have  our  first 
description  of  the  youth.  If  the  memory  of  an  elderly  scholar  some 
twenty-three  years  later  can  be  relied  upon,  he  was  a  boy  of  medium 
size,  "graceful  in  manners,  rather  slender,  but  well  formed,  and 
upon  the  whole,  what  I  would  call  handsome;  of  a  keen,  piercing 
eye,  and  a  noble  forehead  seemingly  the  very  seat  of  genius."  To 
Roberton's  astonishment,  Fremont  within  a  year  had  read  Caesar, 
Nepos,  Sallust,  six  books  of  Virgil,  nearly  all  of  Horace,  two  books  of 
Livy,  Graeca  Minora,  part  of  Graeca  Majora,  and  four  books  of 
Homer's  Iliad.  He  also  made  much  progress  in  mathematics."^ 

Fremont,  who  seems  to  have  continued  working  in  Mitchell's  law 
office  while  reading  the  classics  and  doing  his  calculations,  entered 
the  junior  class  in  the  College  of  Charleston  in  May  1829.  The  col- 
lege records  for  1830  list  him  as  Charles  or  C.  J.  Fremont  in  the 
Scientific  Department.  The  records  also  show  that  he  was  away  dur- 
ing the  first  three  months  of  1830,  "teaching  in  the  country  by 
permission."  He  resumed  his  studies  in  April,  but  as  the  year  ad- 
vanced his  absences  became  frequent  as  he  spent  more  and  more 
time  with  a  Creole  family  who  had  a  beguiling,  black-eyed  daughter 
named  Cecilia.  He  had  fallen  deeply  in  love,  and  though  the  college 
faculty  was  patient  because  of  his  recent  good  scholarship  and  his 
abundant  promise,  he  was  finally  dismissed  5  February  1831  for 
"incorrigible  negligence."  He  missed  graduation  by  three  months. 
But  about  five  years  later  he  applied  to  the  trustees  for  a  B.A.  degree 
and  his  request  was  granted.^ 

That  his  career  seemed  in  jeopardy  was  of  little  concern;  he 
treated  the  period  of  freedom  from  studies  as  a  holiday:  "The  days 

■^ROBERTON,  3-5.  He  does  not  mention  JCF  by  name  but  the  identity  of 
the  student  is  almost  certain;  Roberton  is  quoted  in  bigelow,  the  memoirs, 
and  in  an  item  on  JCF  in  the  New  York  Times,  27  June  1856.  The  Benton 
Papers,  MoSHi,  contain  two  letters  from  Jessie  to  Roberton,  one  of  which 
expresses  the  hope  that  he  will  repeat  his  visits  to  the  Fremonts  and  another 
assuring  him  and  "his  inquiring  friend"  that  JCF  was  born  and  reared  in  the 
Protestant  Episcopal  Church. 

^  For  JCF's  college  record,  see  the  journal  of  the  College  of  Charleston, 
weekly  record,  Jan.  1830-Feb.  1831,  and  for  his  receipt  of  the  B.A.  degree, 
the  journal  of  the  proceedings  of  the  trustees,  19  March  1838,  p.  263.  One  of 
the  trustees  of  the  college  when  JCF  received  his  belated  degree  was  his 
friend  Joel  Poinsett  (easterby,  261). 


went  by  on  wings.  In  the  summer  we  [Fremont  and  the  two  boys 
in  the  Creole  family]  ranged  about  in  the  woods,  or  on  the  now 
historic  islands,  gunning  or  picnicking,  the  girls  dangerously  near 
the  breakers  on  the  bar.  I  remember  as  in  a  picture,  seeing  the 
beads  of  perspiration  on  the  forehead  of  my  friend  Henry  as  he 
tugged  frantically  at  his  oar  when  we  had  found  ourselves  one 
day  in  the  suck  of  Drunken  Dick,  a  huge  breaker  that  to  our  eyes 
appeared  monstrous  as  he  threw  his  spray  close  to  the  boat.  For  us 
it  was  really  pull  Dick  pull  Devil." 

Evenings  were  also  spent  with  Cecilia  and  her  brothers,  though 
occasionally  he  absented  himself  to  study  a  work  on  astronomy  or  to 
read  a  chronicle  of  men  "who  had  made  themselves  famous  by 
brave  and  noble  deeds,  or  infamous  by  cruel  and  base  acts."^ 

The  family's  poverty  would  not  permit  Fremont  too  long  a  holi- 
day. He  obtained  positions  as  a  teacher  of  mathematics  in  various 
schools  (including  John  A.  Wooten's  private  school),  and  also  took 
charge  of  an  "Apprentices'  Library,"  a  collection  of  books  with  some 
added  instructional  facilities,  and  labored  as  a  private  surveyor.^" 
The  death  of  his  sister  Elizabeth  in  1832,  and  the  departure  of  his 
brother  to  try  a  career  on  the  stage,  awoke  John  Charles  to  sterner 
realities  and  ended  this  desultory  phase  of  his  life. 

He  now  began  to  come  into  association  with  a  number  of  dis- 
tinguished men.  The  first  to  exert  an  influence  upon  his  career  was 
Joel  Poinsett  (1799-1851),  whose  home  was  on  the  outskirts  of 
Charleston.  Poinsett  had  been  minister  to  Mexico,  and  now  during 
Fremont's  teaching  days  was  a  principal  leader  of  the  Union  men  of 
South  Carolina  in  the  nullification  controversy  of  1830-32.  From 
him,  and  from  Thomas  Hart  Benton  later,  Fremont  imbibed  the 
Unionist  views,  as  opposed  to  sectional  interests,  which  remained 
with  him  all  his  life.  It  was  certainly  through  Poinsett's  influence, 
but  not  with  his  approval,  that  he  obtained  a  civilian  post  as  teacher 
of  mathematics  to  the  midshipmen  on  board  the  U.S.S.  Natchez, 
which  had  been  sent  to  Charleston  to  uphold  the  power  of  the  fed- 
eral government  to  collect  the  tariffs  declared  null  and  void  by  the 
state  of  South  Carolina.  When  compromise  averted  a  possible  out- 
break of  war  between  the  state  and  federal  governments  in  April 
1833,  the  Natchez  returned  to  Hampton  Roads.  The  next  month, 

^  The  period  spent  by  JCF  with  the  Creole  family  is  discussed  in  memoirs, 

^'^  NEViNs,  17;  BENTON  [2];  Ncw  York  Times,  21  July  1856. 


under  the  command  of  Capt.  John  P.  Zantzinger,  she  sailed  with 
Fremont  abroad  for  a  two-year  cruise  in  South  American  waters." 

Fremont,  who  drew  $25.00  a  month  plus  rations,  maintained  that 
the  cruise  had  no  future  bearing  on  his  career,  though  he  "saw  more 
of  the  principal  cities  and  people  than  a  traveller  usually  does."  The 
routine  of  the  ship,  on  which  David  G.  Farragut  was  one  of  the 
lieutenants,  was  broken  by  a  couple  of  duels  while  the  vessel  was 
anchored  off  Rio  de  Janeiro.  In  the  first,  one  of  the  principals  was 
killed;  in  the  other,  Fremont  and  Decatur  Hurst,  the  seconds,  put 
only  powder  in  the  pistols  and  then  rowed  the  duelists  across  the 
bay.  Finding  "a  narrow  strip  of  sandy  beach  about  forty  yards  long 
between  the  water  and  the  mountain,"  they  positioned  their  men 
and  gave  the  word  to  fire.  Of  course  the  men  remained  upright  and 
Fremont  and  Hurst  were  able  to  carry  them  "triumphantly  back  to 
the  ship,  nobody  hurt  and  nobody  wiser."^" 

In  1835,  Congress  provided  for  several  professorships  of  mathe- 
matics in  the  Navy  at  $1,200  a  year.  Fremont  received  such  an  ap- 
pointment on  13  June  1835,  with  pay  retroactive  to  3  March.  When 
the  Natchez  docked  at  New  York,  he  went  home  to  Charleston  and 
wrote  the  following  letter  to  Secretary  of  Navy  Mahlon  Dickerson: 

It  will  not  perhaps  be  unknown  to  you  that,  when  the  U.S.  Ship  Natchez 
arrived  at  New  York,  I  was  attached  to  her  as  Professor  of  Mathematics. 
Immediately  after  information  of  the  passage  of  the  "Navy  Bill"  had  been 
received  on  the  Brazilian  Station,  I  received  from  Commodore  James 
Renshaw — to  whose  ship  the  Natchez,  I  had  been  attached  as  School- 
master from  the  commencement  of  her  cruise — an  appointment  as  "Pro- 
fessor of  Mathematics  in  the  Navy  of  the  United  States,"  bearing  date 
June  13th  1835.  Desirous  of  being  again  ordered  to  sea,  I  am  somewhat 
at  a  loss  to  know  if  you  will  deem  the  above  circumstances  sufficient  for 
that  purpose,  or  whether  references,  with  testimonials  of  character  and 
qualifications,  will  be  thought  previously  requisite.  Should  such  be  the 
case,  I  shall  be  happy  to  forward  them  to  the  Department,  immediately 
on  receiving  a  notification  to  that  effect.  I  should,  however,  suppose  that 
the  fact  of  having  been  appointed  to  my  station  by  Commodore  Renshaw 

11  DNA-45,  muster  roll  of  the  U.S.S.  Natchez,  1833-35,  p.  68. 

12  See  MEMOIRS,  23.  JCF  says  that  Decatur  Hurst  was  a  nephew  of  Com- 
modore Stephen  Decatur  and  later  died  from  wounds  sustained  in  a  duel 
in  Africa,  callahan  lists  a  William  D.  Hurst  but  not  a  Decatur  Hurst.  The 
duelists  were  Robert  P.  Lovell,  Poinsett's  nephew,  and  Enoch  G.  Parrott 
(1815-79),  senior  officer  during  much  of  the  blockade  of  Charleston  in  the 
Civil  War. 


will  be  deemed  sufficient,  and  it  may  not  be  disadvantageous  to  me  to 
state  that  I  received  from  him,  when  the  Natchez  was  on  the  eve  of 
departure,  an  offer  of  being  ordered  to  another  ship  of  the  squadron.  It 
being  to  you,  Sir,  a  matter  of  indifference  to  what  ship  I  am  ordered,  it 
will  not,  I  imagine,  be  considered  out  of  rule  respectfully  to  request  that 
in  the  event  of  being  successful  in  my  application,  I  may  be  attached  to 
the  frigate  United  States,  which  vessel  I  understand  will  be  shortly  sent 
to  the  Mediterranean.  My  situation  not  permitting  me  long  to  remain 
unemployed,  permit  me  to  say,  that,  should  it  entirely  suit  your  con- 
venience, I  would  be  much  gratified  to  be  favored  with  an  early  answer 
to  this  communication.^^ 

Dickerson  acknowledged  Fremont's  request  for  an  appointment, 
saying  that  "When  the  public  interest  shall  require  the  services  of  a 
Professor  of  Mathematics,  it  will  give  me  pleasure  to  recur  to  your 
application."  Impatiently,  Fremont  wrote  again  on  16  January  1836, 
sending  Dickerson  several  enclosures  including  a  testimonial  from 
Captain  Zantzinger.  Again  Dickerson  acknowledged  the  letter  with- 
out offering  much  hope.  But  in  April  he  authorized  Fremont  to  take 
the  examination  for  professor  of  mathematics,  and  sent  him  to 
Baltimore  for  that  purpose.  He  passed  an  examination  conducted  by 
Professors  Edward  C.  Ward  and  P.  I.  Rodriquez,  who  reported: 
"Mr.  J.  C.  Freemont  was  found  qualified,  &  we  take  great  pleasure  in 
stating  that  he  is  a  gentleman  whose  talents  will  be  very  beneficial  to 
the  Midshipmen  of  the  navy."^"* 

That  was  in  June.  By  October  there  still  had  been  no  assignment, 
and  again  Fremont  wrote  to  Dickerson : 

Having  been  informed  that  several  vessels  are  on  the  eve  of  sailing 
from  the  harbors  of  Norfolk  &  New  York  I  have  thought  the  present  a 
fit  opportunity  respectfully  to  request  that  I  may  be  appointed  to  one  of 
them.  Should  it  suit  your  convenience  to  send  me  an  appointment  I 
should  be  much  gratified  to  find  it  for  the  Mediterranean— a  wish  which 
I  am  only  induced  to  express  because  I  understand  no  selections  have  as 
yet  been  made.  A  communication,  with  which  I  had  the  honor  to  be 
favoured  from  yourself  immediately  subsequent  to  having  passed  an 
examination  at  Bake,  informs  me  that  I  shall  be  sent  to  sea  as  soon  as  my 
services  may  be  required.  I  should  in  consequence  not  have  applied  at 

13  JCF  to  Dickerson,  31  Oct.  1835  (MeHi— Fogg  Collection). 

14  Dickerson  to  JCF,  23  April  1836,  DNA-45,  Gen.  Lbk,  22:252;  memo- 
randum of  the  report  of  Ward  and  Rodriquez  on  the  examination  of  profes- 
sors of  mathematics,  3  June  1836,  DNA-45,  Gen.  Lbk,  22:331;  memoirs,  23. 


present  but  that  I  am  led  to  believe  such  applications  customary  at  the 
times  when  ships  are  being  fitted  out  for  sea.^^ 

Dickerson  annotated  the  letter  by  instructing  his  clerk:  "Inform 
him  that  a  Professor  of  Mathematics  is  already  detailed  for  the 
North  Carolina  but  it  may  be  in  my  power  in  a  short  time  to  assign 
you  duty  in  a  Cruising  Vessel."  He  struck  out  the  words  "probably  in 
a  Ship  destined  to  cruise  on  the  Coast  of  Brazil." 

Not  until  4  April  1837  did  Dickerson  write  Fremont  the  long- 
awaited  orders  to  duty.  "You  will  proceed  to  Boston  and  report  to 
Com.  [John]  Downes  for  duty  as  Professor  of  Mathematics  on  board 
the  U.S.S.  Independence."  But  a  year  and  a  half  of  waiting  had  been 
too  much,  and  the  necessity  of  earning  a  living  had  already  forced 
Fremont  to  seek  other  opportunities.  He  declined  the  appointment.^ 

We  have  been  able  to  trace  in  sketchy  fashion  Fremont's  brief 
naval  career.  More  hazy,  however,  is  his  service  as  a  surveyor  for 
Captain  William  G.  Williams  of  the  U.S.  Corps  of  Topographical 
Engineers,  who  had  been  ordered  to  assist  William  G.  McNeill  in  a 
survey  of  a  route  for  the  projected  Charleston,  Louisville,  and  Cincin- 
nati Railroad.  This  road  would  have  done  much  to  link  the  states 
of  the  West  and  Northwest  with  those  of  the  South.  Leading 
spirits  in  the  enterprise  were  Fremont's  benefactor  Poinsett  and  Rob- 
ert Young  Hayne,  a  prominent  South  Carolina  politician  who  later 
became  president  of  the  railroad  company. 

Fremont  found  the  work  congenial :  "We  were  engaged  in  running 
experimental  lines,  and  the  plotting  of  the  field  notes  sometimes 
kept  us  up  until  midnight.  Our  quarters  were  sometimes  at  a  village 
inn  and  more  frequently  at  some  farmer's  house,  where  milk  and 
honey  and  many  good  things  were  welcome  to  an  appetite  sharp- 
ened by  all  day  labor  on  foot  and  a  tramp  of  several  miles  backward 
and  forward,  morning  ^and  evening.  .  .  .  The  summer  weather  in 
the  mountains  was  fine,  the  cool  water  abundant,  and  the  streams 
lined  with  azaleas.  .  .  .  The  survey  was  a  kind  of  picnic  with  work 
enough  to  give  it  zest,  and  we  were  all  sorry  when  it  was  over 


i'^  JCF  to  Dickerson,  19  Oct.  1836,  DNA-45,  Misc.  LR,  No.  69. 

i«  Dickerson  to  JCF,  4  April  1837,  DNA-45,  Letters  to  Officers,  Ships  of 
War,  24:33. 

lUiEMoiRs,  23-24.  See  also  J.  J.  Abert  to  W.  G.  Williams,  17  March  1836, 
DNA-77,  LS,  2:63;  and  the  joint  report  of  the  chief  and  associate  engineers  of 
the  Charleston,  Louisville,  and  Cincinnati  Railroad,  7  Oct.  1837,  Senate  Doc. 
158,  25th  Cong.,  2nd  sess.,  U.S.  Serial  316. 


After  the  work  on  the  railroad  survey  was  suspended,  Fremont 
again  was  employed  with  Captain  Williams  as  his  assistant  engi- 
neer in  the  survey  of  the  territory  occupied  by  the  Cherokee  Indians. 
The  land  lay  mainly  in  Georgia,  though  some  cut  across  into  North 
Carolina  and  Tennessee.  Because  the  Cherokees  were  bitterly  op- 
posed to  the  federal  government's  policy  of  transferring  the  major 
tribes  to  the  area  west  of  the  Mississippi  River,  the  War  Department 
felt  that  a  survey  would  aid  military  purposes  if  war  broke  out,  or 
facilitate  the  distribution  of  land  among  the  frontiersmen  if  it  did 
not.  It  was  a  strenuous  survey  of  forest  and  mountain  country  made 
hurriedly  in  mid-winter,  but  here,  Fremont  wrote  many  years  later, 
"I  found  the  path  which  I  was  'destined  to  walk.'  Through  many  of 
the  years  to  come  the  occupation  of  my  prime  of  life  was  to  be 
among  Indians  and  in  waste  places."^^ 

In  December  1837,  Fremont  applied  for  a  commission  in  the  U.S. 
Corps  of  Topographical  Engineers  (Captain  Williams  had  already 
written  a  supporting  letter).  In  February  1838,  Williams  was  in- 
structed to  come  to  Washington  as  soon  as  his  survey  was  completed 
and  to  bring  Fremont  with  him.  In  March,  with  the  job  done,  Fre- 
mont spent  a  few  days  in  Charleston  and  then  proceeded  to  Wash- 
ington. His  friend  Poinsett,  now  Secretary  of  War,  requested  that  the 
twenty-five-year-old  Fremont  be  assigned  as  a  civilian  assistant  to 
the  distinguished  French  scientist  Joseph  Nicolas  Nicollet,  who  was 
about  to  embark  upon  an  examination  of  the  northern  territory  lying 
between  the  Mississippi  and  Missouri  rivers.  While  he  was  away  on 
the  first  of  his  two  expeditions  with  Nicollet,  Fremont's  commission 
as  a  lieutenant  in  the  Topographical  Corps  was  approved.^^ 

From  this  point  in  Fremont's  life,  the  documents  tell  the  story. 

^^  MEMOIRS,  50.  It  is  difficult  to  say  just  how  long  ICF  worked  on  the 
Cherokee  survey  in  1837-38,  as  the  documents  are  few.  Some  of  the  field 
notebooks  in  which  he  kept  his  raw  surveying  data  are  in  DNA-77,  and 
there  is  one  voucher  which  may  not  cover  his  complete  service.  Dated  19  April 
1838,  it  lists  payment  for  "Salary  as  Asst.  Engr.  in  the  Cherokee  Nation  N.C. 
&c.  for  43  days,  viz.  from  the  6th  March  to  the  18th  April  1838  inclusively 
at  $1200.00  per  annum,  $141.04."  It  appears  to  have  been  JCF's  final  payment, 
but  may  not  have  been  the  only  one.  DNA-217,  Records  of  the  Third  Auditor, 
Acct.  No.  3649,  Voucher  No.  158. 

^^  The  foregoing  summary  of  ICF's  early  years  is  not  intended  as  a  com- 
plete biography.  For  a  more  detailed  account  of  this  period,  see  nevins,  1-28. 



"It  is  not  a  cheerful  task,  that  of  going  over  and  destroying  old 
letters  and  papers,  but  it  is  better  than  having  them  get  into  wrong 
hands.  ...  I  will  be  thankful  when  I  am  all  through  with  it  for  it 
is  very  hard  to  burn  up  the  letters  of  those  we  love."^^  So  wrote  Fre- 
mont's daughter  Elizabeth  in  1907  as  she  pillaged  what  was  left  of 
her  parents'  literary  remains.  It  is  an  old  story,  and  a  source  of  an- 
guish to  the  historian.  But  papers  tend  to  survive  all  their  natural 
enemies:  not  only  fire,  flood,  and  mildew  but  the  busy  destructive- 
ness  of  descendants.  And  so  public  a  figure  as  Fremont  must  of 
necessity  lodge  a  great  many  documents  in  relatively  safe  places. 

Of  the  mauscript  materials  available  to  the  student  of  Fremont 
and  his  times,  most  are  in  the  National  Archives  and  the  Library  of 
Congress.  Of  the  several  smaller  collections  elsewhere,  a  few  were 
placed  in  the  public  trust  by  members  of  the  family.  There  are,  as 
far  as  we  can  discern,  no  papers  of  John  Charles  or  Jessie  Benton 
Fremont  still  in  family  hands,  but  there  are  many  in  private  collec- 
tions. All  these  sources — the  public  repositories  and  private  holdings 
— have  been  searched  as  thoroughly  as  possible  for  what  is  substan- 
tial and  informative.  A  man  with  as  many  business,  political,  and 
military  interests  as  Fremont  could  not  avoid  producing  much  trivia. 
No  sensible  editor  would  undertake  a  complete  edition  of  Fremont 
papers.  He  would  seize  most  gratefully  upon  every  shred  which 
bears  upon  the  expeditions  of  1838-54,  for  such  documents  are  not 
plentiful.  For  other  activities  of  Fremont,  however,  he  would  find  it 
necessary  to  be  selective — even  in  regard  to  such  vital  events  as  the 
Bear  Flag  Revolt. 

In  this  series  we  combine  unpublished  manuscript  materials  with 
Fremont's  published  reports  and  selections  from  his  Memoirs.  The 
previously  published  works  have  never  been  thoroughly  annotated, 
and  the  hitherto  unpublished  letters  and  documents  provide  much 
new  material  for  such  annotation. 

The  published  documents  upon  which  Fremont's  reputation  came 
to  rest  in  his  own  lifetime  are  here  listed  chronologically.  Joseph  N. 
Nicollet's  map,  but  not  the  Report,  is  included,  and  both  are  dis- 

-°  Elizabeth   Benton   Fremont  to   Sarah   McDowell    Preston,   6   Aug.    1907 
(KyU — Preston  Family  Papers). 


cussed  elsewhere  as  a  factor  in  Fremont's  development  as  an  explorer 
and  scientific  observer. 

1.  Northern  Boundary  of  Missouri,  H.R.  Doc.  38,  27th  Cong.,  3rd 
sess.,  U.S.  Serial  420.  A  report  of  Fremont's  explorations  of  the  Des 
Moines  River,  as  high  as  the  Raccoon  Fork,  in  1841.  The  manuscript 
version  is  used  as  a  text  in  the  present  volume. 

2.  A  Report  on  an  Exploration  of  the  Country  Lying  between  the 
Missouri  River  and  the  Rocky  Mountains  on  the  Line  of  the  Kansas 
and  Great  Platte  Rivers,  Sen.  Doc.  243,  27th  Cong.,  3rd  sess.,  U.S. 
Serial  416. 

3.  Report  of  the  Exploring  Expedition  to  the  Rocky  Mountains  in 
the  Year  1842,  and  to  Oregon  and  North  California  in  the  Years 
1843-44,  Sen.  Exec.  Doc.  174,  28th  Cong.,  2nd  sess.,  U.S.  Serial  461. 

4.  Message  of  the  President  of  the  United  States  Communicating 
the  Proceedings  of  the  Court  Martial  in  the  Trial  of  Lieutenant 
Colonel  Fremont,  Sen.  Exec.  Doc.  33,  30th  Cong.,  1st  sess.,  U.S. 
Serial  507. 

5.  Geographical  Memoir  upon  Upper  California,  in  Illustration  of 
His  Map  of  Oregon  and  California,  Sen.  Misc.  Doc.  148,  30th  Cong., 
1st  sess.,  U.S.  Serial  511. 

6.  Memoirs  of  My  Life,  vol.  1  (no  others  issued),  Chicago  and 
New  York,  1887.  Originally  published  in  ten  parts  in  paper  wrap- 

Unfortunately  the  Memoirs  carry  the  story  of  Fremont's  life  only 
to  1847 — through  the  conquest  of  California  and  his  appointment 
by  Robert  F.  Stockton  as  governor  of  that  territory.  "I  close  the 
page,"  he  wrote,  "because  my  path  of  life  led  out  from  among  the 
grand  and  lovely  features  of  nature,  and  its  pure  and  wholesome  air, 
into  the  poisoned  atmosphere  and  jarring  circumstances  of  conflict 
among  men,  made  subtle  and  malignant  by  clashing  interests."  The 
principal  events  of  his  remaining  forty-three  years  of  life  his  wife 
tried  to  chronicle,  often  with  a  view  also  to  justifying  his  sometimes 
controversial  decisions  and  behavior,  in  "Great  Events  during  the 
Life  of  Major  General  John  C.  Fremont."  Intended  as  a  sequel  to  the 
Memoirs,  the  manuscript  was  never  published. 

Although  the  publication  of  the  Memoirs,  which  draws  at  times 
verbatim  on  the  official  Reports  of  his  first  two  expeditions,  was  un- 
doubtedly prompted  by  economic  necessity,  a  book  recounting  his 
daring  and  colorful  achievements  had  long  been  envisioned.  Theo- 
dore Talbot,  about  to  set  out  in  1845  on  the  third  expedition,  wrote 


to  his  mother  that  "Capt.  Fremont  intends  pubHshing  his  3  reports, 
the  two  previous  and  the  coming  one,  in  one  large  and  handsomely 
illustrated  volume.""^  At  one  time,  too,  according  to  Mrs.  Fremont, 
her  husband  and  Senator  Benton  conceived  a  joint  editorship  of  the 
letters  written  by,  to,  and  about  Fremont  from  1842  to  1854,  but 
many  of  the  letters  were  burned  in  the  fire  that  destroyed  Benton's 
home  in  February  1855."" 

Fremont  had  long  been  conscious  of  Baron  Alexander  von  Hum- 
boldt's wish  for  "truth  in  representing  nature,"  and  as  early  as  1842 
had  attempted  to  record  his  explorations  photographically.  On  both 
the  first  and  second  expeditions  he  had  carried  daguerreotype 
cameras,  and  though  he  was  unable  to  use  them  successfully  they  do 
represent  the  first  instances  of  the  employment  of  a  camera  on  west- 
ern expeditions  sent  out  by  the  government.  Edward  M,  Kern  accom- 
panied the  third  expedition  as  an  artist  and  on  the  fifth  Solomon 
Nunes  Carvalho,  an  authority  in  the  whole  field  of  photography 
and  daguerreotyping,  spent  hours  making  "views."  Carvalho's  plates 
survived  the  storms  of  the  Sierras  and  the  perils  of  an  ocean  voyage 
and  were  brought  back  by  Fremont  to  New  York,  where  Mathew 
Brady  was  engaged  to  copy  them  by  the  wet  process  so  that  paper 
prints  could  be  made.  The  paper  prints,  in  turn,  were  used  as  copy 
by  artists  and  engravers  in  preparing  plates  to  illustrate  Fremont's 
proposed  book;  for  he  now  entered  into  a  contract  with  George 
Childs  of  Philadelphia  to  bring  out  the  journals  of  the  various  ex- 
peditions as  a  companion  book  of  American  travel  to  the  Arctic 
journeys  of  Dr.  Elisha  Kent  Kane,  then  being  published  so  profitably 
by  the  same  house.  The  campaign  of  1856  interrupted  the  work.^^ 

Soon  after  the  election,  work  on  the  proposed  book  was  begun 
again,  and  Jessie  wrote  Ehzabeth  Blair  Lee:  "Say  to  your  Father  that 
the  election  looks  ages  back  now  that  we  are  so  interested  in  the 
book  and  if  he  could  see  the  beautiful  pictures  that  are  growing  un- 
der Mr.  [James]  Hamilton's  brush  he  would  like  us  turn  his  back 
on  the  'busy  world'  &  fly  to  the  mountains  on  canvas."  In  April  she 
wrote  Mrs.  Lee,  "The  book  grows  finely — not  the  text  yet  but  the  il- 
lustrations and  all  the  preparatory  work."  And  in  May,  Mrs.  Blair  re- 

21  Theodore  Talbot  to  Adelaide  Talbot  fSt.  Louis],  30  May  1845  (DLC— 
Talbot  Papers). 

22  Jessie   B.  Fremont   to   R.    [U.?]    Johnson,   Los   Angeles,   28   Aug.    1890 
(James  S.  Copley  Collection,  La  Jolla,  Calif.). 




ceived  the  following  note:  "We  are  at  work  on  the  book  which  is 
our  baby  and  pet — the  summer  plans  are  not  fairly  fixed  as  yet,  we 
keep  this  house  by  the  month  for  the  convenience  of  having  the 
artists  work  under  Mr.  Fremont's  supervision.  They  have  Lizzie's 
former  bedroom  &  have  made  a  grand  collection  of  oily  rags  and 
bad  smelling  bottles  and  paints  but  the  results  are  beautiful.  Frank  & 
Mr.  Fremont  grow  young  together  over  imaginary  buffalo  hunts 
located  in  certain  valleys  which  look  out  upon  them  like  nature 
from  the  canvas." 

On  the  same  day  in  May  she  wrote  Lizzie  Lee,  "All  the  astro- 
nomical &  tedious  part  of  the  work  is  now  finished  as  far  as  Mr.  Fre- 
mont goes  into  it."  A  bit  later  she  wrote,  "Jacob  [presumably  Jacob 
Dodson,  the  Negro  who  had  been  JCF's  servant  on  the  1845  expedi- 
tion] came  on  with  me  &  I  have  had  my  pen  in  hand  as  much  as 
five  hours  &  a  half  at  a  time — We  finish  with  him  today — that  much 
work  is  done."^^ 

But  the  writing  was  interrupted  by  Fremont's  going  to  Califor- 
nia and  Jessie  to  Europe.  After  the  return  of  both  in  the  late  fall  of 
1857,  another  attempt  was  made  at  writing,  but  soon  all  the  Fre- 
monts  were  packing  for  California  and  the  Mariposa.  And  while 
Jessie  hoped  "that  Mr.  Fremont  will  write  as  well  as  direct  his  work 
there,"  the  book  was  not  finished,  the  contract  was  canceled,  and 
George  Childs  had  to  be  reimbursed  for  all  the  expenditures  he  had 
made.  The  Civil  War  and  the  business  schemes  following  it  gave  no 
leisure  for  writing. 


^^  See  letters  of  Jessie  B.  Fremont  to  Elizabeth  Blair  Lee,  Thursday  night 
[1857?],  7  April  1857,  4  May  [1857?],  2  [June?]  1857,  and  to  Mrs.  Blair, 
4  May  1857,  all  in  NjP— Blair-Lee  Papers. 

25  Jessie  B.  Fremont  to  Elizabeth  Blair  Lee,  15  Dec.  [1857?].  JCF  gave 
George  Childs  notes  as  a  guaranty  that  he  would  be  paid  for  the  expenditures 
on  the  book,  and  on  9  Feb.  1864  Childs  sought  the  aid  of  Maj.  Simon  Ste- 
vens to  obtain  an  early  settlement  of  the  notes.  Childs  wrote,  "I  hope  you  are 
arranging  the  Fremont  matter  so  that  I  can  surely  get  the  balance  next  week. 
Impress  upon  the  General  that  it  is  of  vital  importance  for  me  to  have  the 
amount  this  month"  (PPAmP).  Childs  eventually  sold  the  notes  to  Drexels 
(see  George  W.  Childs  to  [Simon  Stevens],  Philadelphia,  20  Jan.  1865,  NHi). 

So  common  was  the  knowledge  that  Fremont  was  preparing  a  book  that 
Gouverneur  Warren,  in  his  Memoir  to  Accompany  the  Map  of  the  Territory 
of  the  United  States  from  the  Mississippi  River  to  the  Pacific  Ocean,  at  p.  50 
noted:  "In  press  [1859]  Colonel  J.  C.  Fremont's  Explorations,  prepared  by 
the  author,  and  embracing  all  his  expeditions.  — Childs  &  Peterson,  publishers. 
No.  602  Arch  Street,  Philadelphia." 


Jessie  Benton  Fremont,  from  the  portrait  by  T.  Buchanan  Read 
Courtesy  of  the  Southwest  Museum 


When  the  Fremonts  left  for  Arizona  in  1878,  the  boxes  containing 
materials  for  the  books  were  placed  in  safes  below  the  pavement  at 
Morrell's  and  were  thus  saved  when  fire  destroyed  that  warehouse 
and  the  many  other  Fremont  treasures  stored  in  it.  In  1886,  perhaps 
inspired  by  the  success  of  General  Grant's  Personal  Memoirs,  work 
was  resumed.  The  Fremonts  took  a  house  in  Washington  so  that 
Mrs.  Fremont  could  use  the  facilities  of  the  Library  of  Congress,  and 
her  daughter  Lily  typed  copy.  Fire  at  the  publishers,  Belford  and 
Clark  and  Co.,  once  more  threatened  the  book,  but  the  plates  were 
not  destroyed  and  publication  was  delayed  only  a  few  weeks.  Com- 
mercially the  work  was  a  disappointment,  but  after  Fremont's  death, 
Jessie — with  the  aid  of  her  son  Frank — continued  what  she  hoped 
would  constitute  the  second  volume  of  the  Memoirs.  She  wrote  Mrs. 
George  Browne,  "I  have  such  fine  offers,  which  will  complete  the 
General's  work,  make  money  for  Lil  and  give  me  a  living  object."^^ 

Such  is  the  long  history  of  the  making  of  the  Memoirs. 

In  many  ways,  an  edition  of  Fremont's  papers  is  not  a  documenta- 
tion of  the  man,  but  rather  of  the  events  in  vvhich  he  participated. 
Occasionally  we  draw  from  the  journals  and  letters  of  other  partici- 
pants in  these  events.  The  disastrous  fourth  expedition  of  1848,  for 
example,  could  not  be  thoroughly  presented  in  any  other  fashion. 
And  the  letters  of  Jessie  Benton  Fremont  are  often  more  important 
than  those  of  her  husband  in  illuminating  the  Fremont  legend.  In- 
deed it  may  be  said  that  because  so  many  of  Fremont's  letters  were 
composed  and  set  to  paper  by  Jessie,  the  documentary  history  of 
these  two  persons  is  but  a  single  subject  of  study. 


The  historical  editor  is  taxed  to  make  a  meaningful  contribution 
to  the  botanical  aspects  of  an  expedition.  He  cannot  tell  the  sys- 
tematic botanist  anything — indeed,  must  turn  to  him  for  counsel — 
and  can  give  little  aid  to  the  untrained  reader.  As  a  minimum,  he 
can  attempt  to  give  a  recent  scientific  name,  and  perhaps  a  com- 
monly accepted  colloquial  name,  to  the  plants  enumerated  in  the 

2^  Jessie  Benton  Fremont  to  Nell,  Los  Angeles,  27  Jan.  1891   (CU-B — Fre- 
mont Papers). 


Even  this  modest  assignment  becomes  difficult.  Taxonomists  are 
continually  producing  new  combinations,  referring  plants  to  new 
genera,  with  the  result  that  many  possibilities  confront  the  editor 
who  is  looking  for  the  "correct"  modern  designation.  The  task  is 
made  harder  by  the  fact  that  collectors  of  an  earlier  day,  and  even 
the  scientists  who  analyzed  their  findings,  followed  no  stabilized 
pattern.  "For  want  of  anything  better  the  men  in  the  field  employed 
descriptive  phrases  or  had  recourse  to  colloquial  names;  misapplied 
the  Latin  names  of  plants  with  which  they  were  familiar  to  others 
which  to  them  appeared  to  be  the  same;  employed  Latin  epithets 
(at  times  misspelled)  which  subsequently,  because  of  priority  or 
other  rulings,  came  to  be  regarded  as  synonyms"  (mc  kelvey, 

After  bringing  our  own  mediocre  botanical  knowledge  to  bear  on 
JCF's  narrative,  we  turned  for  expert  counsel  to  Professor  Joseph 
Ewan,  Tulane  University,  and  his  able  research  assistant,  Nesta 
Dunn  Ewan.  These  two  were  able  to  solve  many  of  the  problems 
that  had  puzzled  us,  and  our  gratitude  to  them  is  sincere  and  sub- 
stantial. Because  we  turned  to  them  while  they  were  researching  at 
the  Royal  Botanic  Gardens,  Kew,  England,  far  from  such  resources 
as  were  available  for  the  writing  of  Professor  Ewan's  Rocky  Moun- 
tain Naturalists  (Denver,  Colo.,  1950),  and  other  works  on  Ameri- 
can botany,  our  request  was  all  the  more  inconvenient. 

When  JCF's  mention  of  a  plant  by  common  or  scientific  name  is 
in  virtually  modern  terminology,  we  let  it  stand  without  augmenta- 
tion. When  a  brief  identification,  either  in  brackets  or  in  a  note,  will 
keep  the  narrative  going  without  undue  intrusion,  we  use  that  de- 
vice. And  when  a  matter  requires  special  comment,  a  somewhat 
longer  note  is  used.  Our  chief  botanical  aid,  however,  is  the  index. 
Here  we  have  placed  every  significant  mention  of  a  plant,  by  bino- 
mial or  common  name,  followed  by  the  accepted  modern  equivalent. 
Thus,  when  both  JCF's  narrative  and  our  running  annotation  fails 
the  reader,  he  may  try  the  index. 

Vernacular  names  are  given  to  species  when  such  are  available,  but 
frequently  the  common  name  of  the  genus  has  necessarily  been  sub- 
stituted. Plants  in  the  montane  area,  especially,  may  have  no  specific 
common  names,  and  such  generic  names  as  aster,  ragwort,  and 
goldenrod  prevail. 


The  Documents 

The  original  text  is  followed  as  closely  as  the  demands  of  typog- 
raphy will  permit,  with  several  departures  based  on  common  sense 
and  the  current  practice  of  scholars.  In  the  matter  of  capitalization 
the  original  is  followed,  unless  the  writer's  intention  is  not  clear,  in 
which  case  we  resort  to  modern  practice.  Occasionally  in  the  inter- 
ests of  clarity,  a  long,  involved  sentence,  usually  penned  or  dictated 
by  a  bare  literate,  is  broken  into  two  sentences.  Missing  periods  at 
the  ends  of  sentences  are  supplied,  dashes  terminating  sentences  are 
supplanted  by  periods,  and  superfluous  dashes  after  periods  are  omit- 
ted. In  abbreviations,  raised  letters  are  brought  down  and  a  period 
supplied  if  modern  usage  calls  for  one.  Words  underscored  in  manu- 
scripts are  italicized.  The  complimentary  closing  is  run  in  with  the 
preceding  paragraph,  and  a  comma  is  used  if  no  other  end  punctua- 
tion is  present.  The  acute  accent  mark  on  the  e  in  Fremont  is  sup- 
plied when  it  appears  in  the  document  and  omitted  where  it  does 
not  appear,  but  it  is  used  in  all  of  our  own  headings  and  references 
to  Fremont,  even  in  the  pre-1838  period.  It  was  probably  Fremont's 
association  with  the  French  scientist,  Joseph  N.  Nicollet,  that 
brought  the  accented  e  to  the  signature.  Procedures  for  dealing  with 
missing  or  illegible  words,  conjectural  readings,  etc.  are  shown  in 
the  list  of  symbols,  pp.  xliii-xliv.  When  in  doubt  as  to  how  to  proceed 
in  a  trivial  matter,  modern  practice  is  silently  followed ;  if  the  question 
is  more  important,  the  situation  is  explained  in  a  note. 

When  a  related  document  or  letter  is  used,  that  is,  not  one  directly 
to  or  from  Fremont,  extraneous  portions  are  deleted  and  the  deletion 
is  indicated  by  a  symbol.  If  a  manuscript  contains  only  a  brief  refer- 
ence to  the  pertinent  subject,  we  are  more  likely  to  quote  the  passage 
in  a  note  to  some  related  letter  than  to  print  it  as  a  separate  docu- 

Because  Jessie  B.  Fremont  wrote  and  signed  so  many  of  her  hus- 
band's letters,  we  have  felt  that  there  should  be  some  indication  of 
this  to  the  reader.  Our  solution  to  the  problem  is  set  forth  in  the  list 
of  symbols. 

The  Notes 

The  first  manuscript  indicated  is  the  one  from  which  the  tran- 
scription has  been  made;  other  copies,  if  known,  are  listed  next.  If 


endorsements  or  addresses  are  routine,  their  presence  is  merely  noted, 
but  if  they  contribute  useful  information,  they  are  quoted  in  full. 
For  example,  see  the  endorsement  on  Fremont's  application  for  a 
mountain  howitzer  for  his  third  expedition,  Vol.  1,  Doc.  No.  130. 

Material  taken  from  printed  texts  is  so  indicated  (printed,  larkin, 
4:239-41),  but  no  attempt  is  made  to  record  other  printed  versions. 

Senders,  receivers,  and  persons  referred  to  in  the  manuscripts  are 
briefly  identified  at  first  mention.  For  senders  and  receivers,  this 
identification  is  made  in  the  first  paragraph  of  the  notes  and  no  ref- 
erence number  is  used.  The  reader  can  easily  find  the  identification 
of  an  individual  by  locating  in  the  index  the  page  on  which  he  is 
first  mentioned. 

No  source  is  cited  for  the  kind  of  biographical  information  to  be 
found  in  standard  directories,  genealogies,  and  similar  aids. 

Names  of  authors  in  small  capitals  are  citations  to  sources  listed 
in  the  bibliography  on  pp.  807-17.  This  device  enables  us  to  keep 
many  long  titles  and  other  impedimenta  out  of  the  notes.  In  the  case 
of  two  or  more  works  by  the  same  author,  a  number  is  assigned  as 
in  J.  D.  Mc  DERMOTT  [1].  When  a  published  work  is  being  discussed, 
not  merely  cited,  we  often  list  it  fully  by  author  and  title  in  the 

To  avoid  the  constant  repetition  of  the  Fremont  names,  we  have 
freely  used  the  initials  JCF  and  JBF  for  John  Charles  and  Jessie. 


y^ii^^ ^t.€^^_a^  ^^<»._»-._  >^Scj«-»i 

•^  .^^ 

A  letter  by  Fremont,  in  his  handwriting 


2^    ^^^.^  ^^    .il.^^.^^'..-^  ^^^?- 

^t^^        ^^  <^!^«<£^Jt^-^  >^l«>*t-^__       .A^>J.-*^  ^^»-»*^^^     *!«- 


/y^r^zr~  A-^^^^^  .^^;^^^^--  ^^  ^^^..^^  .^..^^^ 

A  letter  by  Fremont,  in  the  handwriting  of  Jessie  Benton  Fremont 



Libraries  and  Archives,  as  Designated 

BY  THE  National  Union  Catalog 

OF  THE  Library  of  Congress 

C  California  State  Library,  Sacramento 

CLSM  Southwest  Museum,  Los  Angeles 

CSmH  Henry  E.  Huntington  Library,  San  Marino 

CoU  University  of  Colorado,  Boulder 

CU-B  Bancroft  Library,  University  of  California,  Berkeley 

DLC  Library  of  Congress 

GHi  Georgia  Historical  Society,  Savannah 

lU  University  of  Illinois,  Urbana 

KyLoF  Filson  Club  Library,  Louisville,  Ky. 

KyU  University  of  Kentucky,  Lexington 

MeHi  Maine  Historical  Society,  Portland 

MnHi  Minnesota  Historical  Society,  St.  Paul 

MH-G  Harvard  University,  Gray  Herbarium  Library,  Cambridge, 


MoSB  Missouri  Botanical  Garden  Library,  St.  Louis 

MoSHi  Missouri  Historical  Society,  St.  Louis 

NcU  University  of  North  Carolina,  Chapel  Hill 

NHi  New  York  Historical  Society  Library,  New  York 

NjP  Princeton  University  Library,  Princeton,  N.J. 

NN  New  York  Public  Library,  New  York 

NNNBG  New  York  Botanical  Garden,  Bronx  Park,  New  York 

PHi  Historical  Society  of  Pennsylvania,  Philadelphia 

PPAmP  American  Philosophical  Society,  Philadelphia 

Vi  Virginia  State  Library,  Richmond 

National  Archives  Record  Groups 

DNA-45  Naval  Records  Collection  of  the  Office  of  Naval  Records 

and  Library 


DNA-49  Records  of  the  General  Land  Office 

DNA-75  Records  of  the  Bureau  of  Indian  Affairs 

DNA-77  Records  of  the  Office  of  the  Chief  of  Engineers 

DNA-94  Records  of  the  Adjutant  General's  Office 

DNA-107        Records  of  the  Office  of  the  Secretary  of  War 
DNA-156        Records  of  the  Chief  of  Ordnance,  War  Department 
DNA-217        Records  of  the  United  States  General  Accounting  Office 

(T-135  denotes  a  collection  of  microfilm  documents  in  this 

Record  Group.) 

Other  Symbols  and  Editorial  Aids 

AD  Autograph  document 

ADS  Autograph  document,  signed 

ADS-JBF        Autograph  document,  Fremont's  name  signed  by  Jessie 

AL  Autograph  letter 

ALS  Autograph  letter,  signed 

ALS-JBF         Autograph  letter,  Fremont's  name  signed  by  Jessie 

D  Document 

DS  Document,  signed 

DS-JBF  Document,  Fremont's  name  signed  by  Jessie 

JBF  Jessie  Benton  Fremont 

JCF  John  Charles  Fremont 

Lbk  Letterbook  copy 

LR  Letter  received 

LS  Letter  sent 

RC  Receiver's  copy 

RG  Record  Group 

SO  Sender's  copy 

[     ]  Word  or  phrase  supplied  or  corrected.   Editorial  remarks 

within  text  are  italicized  and  enclosed  in  square  brackets. 

[?]  Conjectural  reading,  or  conjectural  identification  of  an  ad- 


[.  .  .]  A  word  or  two  missing  or  illegible.  Longer  omissions  are 

specified  in  footnotes. 

<     >  Word  or  phrase  deleted  from  manuscript,  usually  by  sender. 

The  words  are  set  in  italics. 

....  Unrelated  matter  deleted  by  the  editor.  The  symbol  stands 

alone,  centered  on  a  separate  line. 


Early  Years 

and  the  1842  Expedition 

to  South  Pass 

1.  J.  J.  Abert  to  Fremont 

Bureau  of  Topogrl  Engrs 
Washington  April  16th  1838. 

I  am  authorized  by  the  Hon.  Secretary  of  War  to  inform  you  that 
you  will  be  employed  as  a  Civil  Engineer  under  the  law  of  30th 
April  1824,  and  that  you  will  be  and  are  hereby  assigned  as  an  Assis- 
tant to  J.  N.  Nicol[l]et,  Esqre.^ 

Mr.  Nicol[l]et  is  now  on  his  way  to  St.  Louis,  Missouri.  You  will  re- 
pair to  that  place  without  delay  and  report  to  him  for  orders.  With 
the  view  of  relieving  him  in  his  important  duties  from  all  unneces- 
sary details,  you  will  act  as  disbursing  agent  to  the  expedition,  but 
you  will  make  only  such  expenditures  as  he  shall  authorize.  For  this 
purpose  a  requisition  for  One  Thousand  dollars  will  be  this  day 
made  in  your  favour.  Additional  funds  will  be  supplied  on  your 
estimates  and  will  be  sent  to  such  places  as  you  shall  indicate. 

Enclosed  is  a  copy  of  the  regulations  on  the  subject  of  accounts, 
and  you  will  also  receive  herewith  sets  of  blank  vouchers  and  forms. 

Your  compensation  will  be  four  dollars  per  day,  to  commence 
this  day,  with  an  additional  allowance  of  ten  cents  per  mile  for  your 
travelling  expenses.  Respectfully, 

J.  J.  Abert.  Lt.Cl.  Tl.  Eng. 

Lbk  (DNA-77,  LS,  2:512).  John  James  Abert  (1788-1863)  had  attended 
West  Point,  practiced  law,  made  geodetic  and  topographic  surveys  in  the 
eastern  U.S.,  and  was  now  chief  of  the  Bureau  of  Topographical  Engineers. 
Serving  on  this  assignm.ent  from  1834  to  1861,  he  was  to  oversee  most  of  the 
extensive  surveys  of  the  West  during  this  period. 

1.  Joseph  Nicolas  Nicollet  (1786-1843),  French  astronomer  and  geographer, 
had  come  to  the  U.S.  from  Paris  in  1832  for  the  purpose  of  "making  a  scien- 
tific tour  and  with  the  view  of  contributing  to  the  progressive  increase  of 
knowledge  in  the  physical  geography  of  North  America"  (nicollet,  3).  He 
soon  had  established  a  reputation  as  a  highly  skilled  and  original  scientist,  en- 
joying the  respect  of  such  men  as  Ferdinand  Rudolph  Hassler,  director  of  the 
new  U.S.  Coast  and  Geodetic  Survey.  By  1835  he  had  become  interested  in 
making  the  first  accurate  survey  of  the  Mississippi  River.  He  traveled  widely 
— to  New  Orleans,  St.  Louis,  and  other  cities  of  the  Mississippi  Valley — sur- 
veying and  establishing  stations  to  aid  in  the  determination  of  altitudes.  In 
1836,  he  visited  the  headwaters  of  the  Mississippi — the  region  around  Lake 
Itasca  in  Minnesota — and  did  some  preliminary  mapping  which  was  to  cul- 
minate later  in  his  important  map,  "Hydrographic  Basin  of  the  Upper 
Mississippi  River." 

Thus  far,  he  had  financed  all  his  own  work.  Now,  through  the  influence  of 
Secretary  of  War  Poinsett,  the  Bureau  of  Topographical  Engineers  was  to  pay 
for  Nicollet's  further  expeditions  and  the  preparation  of  the  map.  Nicollet 
documents  in  this  volume  are  selected  only  to  show  the  role  of  JCF  in  the 
expeditions  of  1838  and  1839,  and  can  do  little  to  depict  the  scope  of  Nicol- 
let's work.  His  map,  but  not  his  historic  Report  Intended  to  Illustrate  a 
Map  of  the  Hydrographical  Basin  of  the  Upper  Mississippi  River,  is  repro- 
duced in  this  volume.  He  deserves  his  own  biographer,  or  an  editor  who  will 
annotate  the  Report  and  accompanying  map  as  a  contribution  to  the  history  of 
science  in  the  U.S.  For  a  paper  summarizing  his  life  and  work,  see  "Joseph 
N.  Nicollet,  Geographer,"  by  Martha  Coleman  Bray,  in  j.  f.  mc  dermott  [1]. 

2.  Excerpt  from  the  Memoirs 


The  Cherokee  survey  was  over.  I  remained  at  home  only  just  long 
enough  to  enjoy  the  pleasure  of  the  return  to  it,  and  to  rehabituate 
myself  to  old  scenes.  While  I  w^as  trying  to  devise  and  settle  upon 
some  plan  for  the  future,  my  unforgetful  friend,  Mr.  Poinsett,  had 
also  been  thinking  for  me.  He  was  now  Secretary  of  War,  and,  at 
his  request,  I  was  appointed  by  President  [Martin]  Van  Buren  a 
second  lieutenant^  in  the  United  States  Topographical  Corps,  and 
ordered  to  Washington.  Washington  was  greatly  different  then 
from  the  beautiful  capital  of  to-day.  Instead  of  many  broad,  well- 
paved,  and  leafy  avenues,  Pennsylvania  Avenue  about  represented 
the  town.  There  were  not  the  usual  resources  of  public  amusement. 
It  was  a  lonesome  place  for  a  young  man  knowing  but  one  person 
in  the  city,  and  there  was  no  such  attractive  spot  as  the  Battery  by 

the  sea  at  Charleston,  where  a  stranger  could  go  and  feel  the  free- 
dom of  both  eye  and  thought. 

Shut  in  to  narrow  limits,  the  mind  is  driven  in  upon  itself  and 
loses  its  elasticity;  but  the  breast  expands  when,  upon  some  hill-top, 
the  eye  ranges  over  a  broad  expanse  of  country,  or  in  face  of  the 
ocean.  We  do  not  value  enough  the  effect  of  space  for  the  eye;  it 
reacts  on  the  mind,  which  unconsciously  expands  to  larger  limits 
and  freer  range  of  thought.  So  I  was  low  in  my  mind  and  lonesome 
until  I  learned,  with  great  relief,  that  I  was  to  go  upon  a  distant  survey 
into  the  West.  But  that  first  impression  of  flattened  lonesomeness 
which  Washington  had  given  me  has  remained  with  me  to  this  day. 

About  this  time,  a  distinguished  French  savant  had  returned  from 
a  geographical  exploration  of  the  country  about  the  sources  of  the 
Mississippi,  the  position  of  which  he  first  established.  That  region 
and  its  capabilities  were  then  but  little  known,  and  the  results  of  his 
journey  were  of  so  interesting  a  nature  that  they  had  attracted  public 
notice  and  comment.  Through  Mr.  Poinsett,  Mr.  Nicollet  was  in- 
vited to  come  to  Washington,  with  the  object  of  engaging  him  to 
make  a  complete  examination  of  the  great  prairie  region  between 
the  Mississippi  and  Missouri  Rivers,  as  far  north  as  the  British  line, 
and  to  embody  the  whole  of  his  labors  in  a  map  and  general  report 
for  public  use. 

Mr.  Nicollet  had  left  France,  intending  to  spend  five  years  in  geo- 
graphical researches  in  this  country.  His  mind  had  been  drawn  to 
the  early  discoveries  of  his  countrymen,  some  of  which  were  being 
obliterated  and  others  obscured  in  the  lapse  of  time.  He  anticipated 
great  pleasure  in  renewing  the  memory  of  these  journeys,  and  in 
rescuing  them  all  from  the  obscurity  into  which  they  had  fallen,  A 
member  of  the  French  Academy  of  Sciences,  he  was  a  distinguished 
man  in  the  circles  to  which  Arago  and  other  savants  of  equal  rank 
belonged."  Not  only  had  he  been  trained  in  science,  but  he  was 
habitually  schooled  to  the  social  observances  which  make  daily  inter- 
course attractive,  and  become  invaluable  where  hardships  are  to  be 
mutually  borne  and  difficulties  overcome  and  hazards  met.  His 
mind  was  of  the  higher  order.  A  musician  as  well  as  a  mathema- 
tician, it  was  harmonious  and  complete. 

The  Government  now  arranged  with  him  to  extend  his  surveys 
south  and  west  of  the  country  which  he  had  already  explored.  Upon 
this  survey  I  was  ordered  to  accompany  him  as  his  assistant. 

It  was  a  great  pleasure  to  me  to  be  assigned  to  this  duty.  By  this 
time  I  had  gone  through  some  world-schoohng  and  was  able  to 
take  a  sober  view  of  the  realities  of  life.  I  had  learned  to  appreciate 
fully  the  rare  value  of  the  friendly  aid  which  had  opened  up  for  me 
such  congenial  employment,  and  I  resolved  that,  if  it  were  in  me  to 
do  so,  I  would  prove  myself  worthy  of  it.  The  years  of  healthy  exer- 
cise which  I  had  spent  in  open  air  had  hardened  my  body,  and  the 
work  I  had  been  engaged  in  was  kindred  to  that  which  I  was  now 
to  have.  Field  work  in  a  strange  region,  in  association  with  a  man  so 
distinguished,  was  truly  an  unexpected  good  fortune,  and  I  went 
off  from  Washington  full  of  agreeable  anticipation. 

At  St.  Louis  I  joined  Mr.  Nicollet.^  This  was  the  last  large  city 
on  the  western  border,  and  the  fitting-out  place  for  expeditions  over 
the  uninhabited  country.  The  small  towns  along  the  western  bank 
of  the  Missouri  made  for  two  or  three  hundred  miles  a  sort  of  fringe 
to  the  prairies.  At  St.  Louis  I  met  for  the  first  time  General  Robert 
E.  Lee,  then  a  captain  in  the  United  States  Engineer  Corps,  charged 
with  improvements  of  the  Mississippi  River."*  He  was  already  an 
interesting  man.  His  agreeable,  friendly  manner  to  me  as  a  younger 
officer  when  I  was  introduced  to  him,  left  a  more  enduring  impres- 
sion than  usually  goes  with  casual  introductions. 

In  St.  Louis  Mr.  Nicollet  had  a  pleasant  circle  of  friends  among 
the  old  French  residents.  They  were  proud  of  him  as  a  distinguished 
countryman,  and  were  gratified  with  his  employment  by  the  Amer- 
ican Government,  which  in  this  way  recognized  his  distinction  and 
capacity.  His  intention,  in  the  prosecution  of  his  larger  work  to  re- 
vive the  credit  due  to  early  French  discoverers,  was  pleasing  to  their 
national  pride. 

His  acquaintances  he  made  mine,  and  I  had  the  pleasure  and  ad- 
vantage to  share  in  the  amiable  intercourse  and  profuse  hospitality 
which  in  those  days  characterized  the  society  of  the  place.  He  was 
a  Catholic,  and  his  distinction,  together  with  his  refined  character, 
made  him  always  a  welcome  guest  with  his  clergy.  And  I  may  say 
in  the  full  sense  of  the  word,  that  I  "assisted"  often  at  the  agreeable 
suppers  in  the  refectory.  The  pleasure  of  these  grew  in  remembrance 
afterward,  when  hard  and  scanty  fare  and  sometimes  starvation  and 
consequent  bodily  weakness  made  visions  in  the  mind,  and  hunger 
made  memory  dwell  upon  them  by  day  and  dream  of  them  by 

Such  social  evenings  followed  almost  invariably  the  end  of  the 

day's  preparations.  These  were  soon  now  brought  to  a  close  with  the 
kindly  and  efficient  aid  of  the  Fur  Company's^  officers.  Their  per- 
sonal experience  made  them  know  exactly  what  was  needed  on  the 
proposed  voyage,  and  both  stores  and  men  were  selected  by  them; 
the  men  out  of  those  in  their  own  employ.  These  were  principally 
practised  voyageurs,  accustomed  to  the  experiences  and  incidental 
privations  of  travel  in  the  Indian  country. 

The  aid  given  by  the  house  of  Chouteau  was,  to  this  and  succeed- 
ing expeditions,  an  advantage  which  followed  them  throughout 
their  course  to  their  various  posts  among  the  Indian  tribes. 

Our  destination  now  was  a  trading  post  on  the  west  bank  of  the 
Mississippi,  at  the  mouth  of  the  St.  Peter's,  now  better  known  as  the 
Minisotah  River.  This  was  the  residence  of  Mr.  Henry  Sibley,"  who 
was  in  charge  of  the  Fur  Company's  interests  in  the  Mississippi 
Valley.  He  gave  us  a  frontier  welcome^  and  heartily  made  his  house 
our  headquarters.  This  was  the  point  of  departure  at  which  the  ex- 
pedition began  its  work.  It  was  on  the  border  line  of  civilization.  On 
the  left  or  eastern  bank  of  the  river  were  villages  and  settlements  of 
the  whites,  and  the  right  was  the  Indian  country  which  we  were 
about  to  visit.  Fort  Snelling  was  on  the  high  bluff  point  opposite 
between  the  Mini-sotah  and  the  Mississippi.  Near  by  was  a  Sioux 
Indian  village,  and  usually  its  Indians  were  about  the  house  grounds. 
Among  these  I  saw  the  most  beautiful  Indian  girl  I  have  ever  met, 
and  it  is  a  tribute  to  her  singular  beauty  that  after  so  many  years  I 
remember  still  the  name  of  "Ampetu-washtoy" — "the  Beautiful 

The  house  had  much  the  character  of  a  hunting-lodge.  There 
were  many  dogs  around  about,  and  two  large  wolfhounds,  Lion  and 
Tiger,  had  the  run  of  the  house  and  their  quarters  in  it.  Mr.  Sibley 
was  living  alone,  and  these  fine  dogs  made  him  friendly  companions, 
as  he  belonged  to  the  men  who  love  dogs  and  horses.  For  his  other 
dogs  he  had  built  within  the  enclosure  a  lookout  about  fifteen  feet 
high.  Around  its  platform  the  railing  was  usually  bordered  with  the 
heads  of  dogs  resting  on  their  paws  and  looking  wistfully  out  over 
the  prairie,  probably  reconnoitering  for  wolves.  Of  the  two  hounds 
Tiger  had  betrayed  a  temper  of  such  ferocity,  even  against  his  mas- 
ter, as  eventually  cost  him  his  life.  Lion,  though  a  brother,  had,  on 
the  contrary,  a  companionable  and  affectionate  disposition  and  al- 
most human  intelligence,  which  in  his  case  brought  about  a  sepa- 
ration from  his  old  home. 

On  the  marriage  of  Mr.  Sibley,  Lion  so  far  resented  the  loss  of  his 
first  place  that  he  left  the  house,  swam  across  the  Mississippi,  and 
went  to  the  Fort,  where  he  ended  his  days.  Always  he  was  glad  to 
meet  his  master  when  he  came  over,  keeping  close  by  him  and  fol- 
lowing him  to  the  shore,  though  all  persuasion  failed  to  make  him 
ever  recross  the  river  to  the  home  where  he  had  been  supplanted; 
but  his  life-size  portrait  still  hangs  over  the  fireplace  of  Mr.  Sibley's 
library.  These  dogs  were  of  the  rare  breed  of  the  Irish  wolfhound, 
and  their  story  came  up  as  an  incident  in  a  correspondence,  stretch- 
ing from  Scotland  to  Mini-sotah,  on  the  question  as  to  whether  it 
had  not  become  extinct;  growing  out  of  my  happening  to  own  a 
dog  inheriting  much  of  that  strain. 

Cut  off  from  the  usual  resources,  Mr.  Sibley  had  naturally  to  find 
his  in  the  surroundings.  The  prominent  feature  of  Indian  life  en- 
tered into  his,  and  hunting  became  rather  an  occupation  than  an 
amusement.  But  his  hunting  was  not  the  tramp  of  a  day  to  some 
neighboring  lake  for  wild  fowl,  or  a  ride  on  the  prairie  to  get  a  stray 
shot  at  a  wolf.  These  hunting  expeditions  involved  days'  journeys  to 
unfrequented  ranges  where  large  game  was  abundant,  or  in  winter 
to  the  neighborhood  of  one  of  his  trading-posts,  where  in  event  of 
rough  weather  the  stormy  days  could  be  passed  in  shelter.  He  was 
fully  six  feet  in  height,  well  and  strongly  built,  and  this,  together 
with  his  skill  as  a  hunter,  gave  him  a  hold  on  the  admiration  and 
respect  of  the  Indians. 

In  all  this  stir  of  frontier  life  Mr.  Nicollet  felt  no  interest  and  took 
no  share;  horse  and  dog  were  nothing  to  him.  His  manner  of  life 
had  never  brought  him  into  their  companionship,  and  the  congenial 
work  he  now  had  in  charge  engrossed  his  attention  and  excited  his 
imagination.  His  mind  dwelt  continually  upon  the  geography  of  the 
country,  the  Indian  names  of  lakes  and  rivers  and  their  signification, 
and  upon  whatever  tradition  might  retain  of  former  travels  by  early 
French  explorers. 

Some  weeks  had  now  been  spent  in  completing  that  part  of  the 
outfit  which  had  been  referred  to  this  place.  The  intervening  time 
had  been  used  to  rate  the  chronometers  and  make  necessary  observa- 
tions of  the  latitude  and  longitude  of  our  starting-point. 

MEMOIRS,  30-34.  For  a  discussion  of  the  Memoirs  and  how  they  came  to  be 
written,  see  the  introduction,  pp.  xxxii-xxxvi.  Since  much  of  that  work  is  a 
dupUcation  of  other  JCF  publications,  such  as  fremont  [2]  and  fremont  [3], 


the  Memoirs  will  not  appear  intact  in  the  present  series.  Only  extracts  will  be 
used,  as  above,  where  other  documents  do  not  provide  continuity. 

1.  Although  JCF  was  first  employed  as  a  civilian  (see  Doc.  No.  1),  his  ap- 
pointment as  second  lieutenant  in  the  Corps  of  Topographical  Engineers  came 
soon — on  7  July  1838— and  his  letter  of  acceptance  was  written  1  Jan.  1839. 
See  DNA-94,  5309  ACP  1879  John  C.  Fremont. 

2.  Nicollet  was  not  a  member  of  the  French  Academy  of  Sciences,  and 
Dominique  Francois  Arago  (1786-1853)  had  helped  to  block  his  election 
(arago,  194).  Arago  was  an  astronomer  who  eventually  became  secretary  of 
the  academy. 

3.  In  a  letter  of  17  May  1838,  registered  in  the  bureau  but  not  found,  JCF 
reported  his  arrival  in  St.  Louis.  He  was  warmly  welcomed  by  Nicollet,  who 
had  been  worrying  lest  he  not  arrive  in  time  to  serve  the  expedition  as  dis- 
bursing officer.  This  apprehension  had  prompted  Nicollet  to  seek  the  advice 
of  Capt.  Ethan  Allen  Hitchcock  on  the  keeping  of  records  (Hitchcock  to 
Nicollet,  15  May  1838,  DLC— Nicollet  Papers). 

4.  Superintending  the  improvement  of  St.  Louis  harbor,  and  of  the  Missouri 
and  Upper  Mississippi  rivers,  was  the  first  important  independent  Army 
assignment  of  Robert  E.  Lee  (1807-70).  He  was  particularly  concerned  with 
such  obstructions  to  navigation  as  the  rapids  near  the  mouth  of  the  Des 
Moines,  and  near  Rock  Island,  111. 

5.  Because  the  Chouteau  enterprises  will  appear  frequendy  in  this  and  en- 
suing volumes,  a  brief  outline  of  their  various  forms  seems  desirable.  The 
public  called  it  the  American  Fur  Company,  though  legally  speaking  the 
business  was  known  after  1838  as  P.  Chouteau,  Jr.,  and  Company,  sunder 
nicely  avoids  confusion  by  calling  it  Chouteau's  American  Fur  Company. 

In  1826,  an  alliance  had  been  formed  between  John  Jacob  Astor's  great 
American  Fur  Company,  and  Bernard  Pratte  and  Company,  of  St.  Louis,  un- 
der which  the  management  of  the  affairs  of  the  Western  Department  of  the 
American  Fur  Company  were  placed  in  Pratte's  hands.  Upon  Astor's  retire- 
ment in  1834,  the  Western  Department  was  purchased  by  the  St.  Louis  house 
—which  now  called  itself  Pratte,  Chouteau  and  Company.  The  Northern 
Department,  retaining  the  name  of  the  American  Fur  Company,  was  sold  to 
a  company  of  which  merchant  and  fur  trader  Ramsay  Crooks  was  the  princi- 
pal partner. 

In  St.  Louis  in  1838,  Pratte  dropped  from  active  participation  in  the  com- 
pany, and  the  name,  in  becoming  P.  Chouteau,  Jr.,  and  Company,  merely 
reflected  the  power  and  the  business  and  financial  acumen  of  the  leading 
shareholder,  Pierre  Chouteau,  Jr.  (1789-1865).  In  1843,  Crooks  relinquished 
the  Minnesota  trade  and  Chouteau  picked  it  up.  In  this  manner  the  company 
built  a  trading  area  which  came  to  extend  over  an  immense  territory,  em- 
bracing the  whole  country  watered  by  the  Upper  Mississippi  and  Missouri 
rivers,  as  well  as  the  tributaries  of  the  latter  (chittenden,  1:322,  364,  366; 
SUNDER,  3-17). 

6.  Henry  Hastings  Sibley  (1811-91)  was  associated  with  Ramsay  Crooks 
in  the  Northern  Department  of  the  American  Fur  Company,  and  would  later 
become  a  partner  with  Chouteau.  He  was  to  have  a  long  and  notable  career 
in  business  and  politics,  becoming  Minnesota's  first  territorial  delegate  and 
state  governor  (sibley  [2]  and  jorstad). 

7.  Indian  agent  Lawrence  Taliaferro  noted  in  his  journal  that  the  steamer 
Burlington  arrived  at  Fort  Snelling  25  May  1838  with  the  Nicollet  party 

3.  Fremont  to  Mrs.  Ann  B.  Hale 

St.  Peters  upper  Mississip 
June  6th  '38 

We  shall  leave  this  place,  Dear  Mother,  on  Saturday  morning,  on 
an  expedition  up  the  river  St.  Peters  &  shall  not  return  here  under  3 
months.  During  that  period  you  will  receive  no  news  from  me  as 
there  is  no  post  communication  whatever,  after  leaving  this  place. 
You  must  however  answer  this  and  write  also  from  time  to  time  as 
there  is  a  possibility  of  our  returning  sooner  &  at  all  events  I  shall  be 
glad  to  find  letters  here  when  we  do  return.  I  have  requested  the 
Post  Master  of  St.  Louis  to  forward  to  Charleston  any  letters  wh. 
may  reach  his  office  to  my  address.  I  do  this  in  order  that  you  may 
receive  Capt.  [William  G.]  Williams  letter  of  information  relative  to 
the  deposit  [in]  the  Bank  of  the  Metropolis  at  Washington.  I  shall 
write  to  him  (the  Captain)  to-day  a  request  that  he  will  [.  .  .]  the 
advice  to  my  address  in  Charleston  so  that  you  will  be  sure  to  receive 
the  necessary  information.  Enclosed  I  send  you  my  signature  to  a 
blank  &  I  suppose  you  will  take  Mr.  McCrady's^  advice  respecting  the 
manner  of  obtaining  the  deposit.  I  had  a  letter  recently  from  the 
gentleman  who  is  to  deposit  with  Capt.  Williams  the  amt.  of  $60.00. 
The  other  amt.  of  $146.14,  I  presume  the  Capt.  has  already  depos- 
ited. Write  particularly  to  me  on  this  subject.  In  writing  to  me  the 
best  plan  will  be  to  put  simply  my  name  on  the  letter  without  direc- 
tion &  enclose  it  or  them  in  an  envelope  to  Mr.  Poinsett  with  a  re- 
quest that  he  will  forward  them.  Get  Mr.  McCrady  to  do  this  for 
you.  This  method  was  recommended  to  Mr.  Nicollet  by  the  Depart- 
ment as  the  proper  method  for  letters  to  reach  us.  I  like  Mr.  Nicollet 
very  much  though  he  is  inclined  to  spare  neither  himself  nor  us  as 
regards  labor,  he  yet  takes  every  means  to  make  us  comfortable.  He 
is  a  real  Frenchman  in  this  &  you  know  exacdy  what  they  are. 
He  has  provided  a  nice  little  store  of  Coffee,  Chocolate,  Tea,  pre- 
pared Soup  &c  in  addition  to  the  more  substantial  articles  of  food. 
He  has  got  a  store  of  medicine  too  &  makes  me  take  some  pills  occa- 
sionally. As  far  as  regards  Science  I  am  improving  under  him  daily 
&  my  health  under  the  influence  of  this  delicious  climate  has  become 
excellent.  In  addition  to  myself  Mr.  N.  has  with  him  on  his  own  ac- 
count a  young  gentleman  of  N.Y.  whose  name  is  Flandin  &  a  Ger- 
man Botanist,  a  Mr.  Geyer,^  both  very  amiable  &  agreeable.  We 


journey  up  this  river  in  a  large  boat  manned  with  9  men.  As  soon  as 
we  reach  the  point  at  which  we  leave  the  river,  we  put  ourselves, 
provisions,  instruments,  tents  &c  into  wagons  &  with  our  company 
of  13  in  all,  take  to  the  prairies.  I  anticipate  an  interesting  &  delight- 
ful expedition.  In  the  mean  time  I  trust  you  are  enjoying  good 
health  &  will  make  yourself  happy  until  we  meet  again.  Is  Frank^ 
with  you  ?  If  he  is  make  him  &  his  wife  both  put  something  in  your 
letter  to  me.  I  wd.  like  them  to  write  separate  letters,  but  I  don't  like 
to  send  too  large  a  package  to  Mr.  P.  Give  my  love  to  all  our  friends 
but  particularly  to  Lane.  Tell  her  if  [she]  sees  or  communicates 
with  Mr.  Poinsett  to  tell  him  not  to  forget  to  put  me  in  the  Topi. 
Corps.  I  must  stop  now  &  leave  room  for  blanks. 

Yr.  Affectionate  Son — Ch. 

Copy,  reproduced  from  a  typescript  in  MnHi;  original  not  available.  En- 
dorsed, "Fort  Snelling  June  9  [?]";  addressed,  "Mrs.  Ann  B.  Hale  Care  of 
Edwd.  McCrady  Esqr.  Charleston  S.  Carolina."  JCF's  mother  had  remarried, 
but  no  information  concerning  her  third  husband  or  the  date  of  the  marriage 
has  come  to  hand.  In  1844,  Jessie  Benton  Fremont  refers  to  her  as  a  widow- 
all  alone  except  for  her  son.  Certainly  no  husband  was  present  at  her  burial 
on  20  Sept.  1847,  and  JCF  took  the  body  to  Charleston  for  interment.  See 
St.  Thaddeus'  Church  [Aiken,  S.C],  church  record  book  for  1847,  p.  379, 
and  the  diary  or  journal  of  the  Rev.  John  Hamilton  Cornish,  Southern  His- 
torical Collection,  NcU. 

1.  Though  Edward  McCrady  (1802-92)  was  some  eleven  years  older  than 
the  explorer,  JCF  claimed  him  as  a  friend  and  named  a  stream  in  California 
and  Oregon  after  him  (memoirs,  483).  McCrady  was  appointed  U.S.  district 
attorney  for  the  Charleston  area  in  1839,  at  the  request  of  Joel  R.  Poinsett.  In 
1856,  politics  and  the  publication  of  an  old  private  letter  brought  a  rift  in  the 
friendship  (see  Jessie's  manuscript,  "Great  Events  during  the  Life  of  Major 
General  John  C.  Fremont,"  CU-B). 

2.  J.  Eugene  Flandin  was  a  youth  of  nineteen,  the  son  of  New  York  mer- 
chant Pierre  Flandin.  After  serving  with  Nicollet  on  this  expedition  he  re- 
turned to  New  York  to  visit  his  family  with  the  idea  of  going  out  again  with 
Nicollet  in  1839,  but  he  only  went  as  far  as  St.  Louis  (see  Doc.  No.  20). 
However,  his  association  with  Fremont  lasted  for  several  years;  the  New  York 
Times,  19  Feb.  1852,  reported  that  he  had  engineered  the  sale  of  JCF's  Mari- 
posa estate  to  Thomas  Denny  Sargent  for  a  million  dollars.  Charles  A.  Geyer 
(1809-53)  had  come  from  Dresden  in  1834  to  explore  the  plant  life  of  North 
America.  He  had  met  Nicollet  at  St.  Louis  after  an  expedition  up  the  Mis- 
souri, and  was  asked  to  accompany  him  on  both  the  1838  and  1839  ventures. 
Although  he  lost  his  principal  collection  of  plants,  Nicollet's  Report  does  con- 
tain Geyer's  list  of  plants  as  edited  by  botanist  John  Torrey.  See  also  nute, 

DRURY    [1],  and   MC  KELVEY. 

3.  Frank  is  JCF's  younger  brother.  He  left  home  at  fifteen  to  pursue  a 
career  on  the  stage,  but  several  years  later  an  injury  received  during  a  riot 
in  Buffalo,  N.Y.,  forced  him  to  return  to  his  mother  in  Charleston.  He  died 


in  1840  or  1841,  before  the  birth  of  his  daughter  Nina,  who  became  JCF's 
ward  (bigelow,  29;  memoirs,  56;  e.  b.  fremont,  62,  106,  182).  The  girl 
named  Lane,  mentioned  a  few  lines  later,  is  unidentified. 

4.  Fremont  to  Joel  R.  Poinsett 

St.  Peters,  Upper  Mississippi 
8  June  1838 
Dear  Sir 

Our  preparations  are  at  last  entirely  completed  &  tomorrow  we 
follow  the  steps  of  the  Pilgrim  of  Science  into  the  Prairie  Wilder- 
ness. I  can  scarcely  tell  you  how  delighted  I  am  in  having  been 
placed  under  him  in  this  Expedition.  Every  day — almost  every  hour 
I  feel  myself  sensibly  advancing  in  professional  knowledge  &  the 
confused  ideas  of  Science  &  Philosophy  wh  my  mind  has  been  oc- 
cupied are  momently  arranging  themselves  into  order  &  clearness. 
I  admire  Mr.  Nicollet  very  much,  not  only  for  his  extraordinary  & 
highly  cultivated  capacity,  but  for  his  delightful  manner — his  deli- 
cacy &  his  almost  extravagant  enthusiasm  in  the  object  of  his  present 
enterprise  wh  he  seems  to  think  the  sole  object  of  his  existence.  The 
unsetded  &  excited  state  of  the  Indians  has  been  the  cause  of  great 
difficulty  in  procuring  men:  even  old  voyageurs  &  hunters  being  at 
this  time  afraid  to  venture  among  them.  Mr.  Nicollet's  good  man- 
agement however  &  his  intimate  acquaintance  with  the  character  of 
the  people  have  overcome  all  difficulties  &  I  have  found  new  occasion 
to  admire  him  for  the  rigid  economy  at  which  these  arrangements 
have  been  made.  Every  instant  of  our  time  has  however  been  occupied 
in  astronomical  &  Geological  observations — so  closely  indeed  that  we 
have  scarcely  been  able  to  avail  ourselves  of  the  kind  hospitality  & 
attentions  of  the  Garrison  at  Fort  Snelling  &  at  this  moment  I  write 
in  the  haste  of  a  stolen  interval.  Mr.  Nicollet  I  am  aware  has  made 
you  acquainted  with  all  details  connected  with  the  expedition  &  I  can 
add,  I  presume,  nothing  to  what  Mr.  Taliaferro^  &  others  have  com- 
municated to  you  relative  to  the  Indians.  Our  party,  tho'  small,  is 
well  armed,  at  least  sufficiently  so  to  secure  us  in  the  event  of  an  ac- 
cidental rencontre  &  Mr.  Nicollet's  knowledge  of  the  Indians  justi- 
fies us  in  believing  that  we  shall  meet  with  no  serious  difficulty. 
Everything  wh  could  facilitate  our  business  &  all  manner  of  kind- 


nesses  have  been  offered  to  us  by  Mr.  H.H.  Sibley,  one  of  the  Part- 
ners of  the  American  N.W.  Fur  Comp.,  residing  at  this  place."  We 
are  living  with  him  &  shall  probably  do  so  whenever  we  chance  to 
be  at  this  place  in  the  intervals  of  our  excursions.  He  has  been 
obliged  to  withdraw  several  of  his  posts  on  account  of  the  bad  con- 
duct of  the  Indians.  At  Lake  Travers,  one  of  the  Posts  withdrawn, 
one  of  his  clerks  has  been  killed,  another  wounded  &  numbers  of 
horses  &  cattle  destroyed. 

I  hope  that  your  health  has  been  by  this  time  thoroughly  restored. 
In  company  wh  Capt.  Williams  I  called  on  you  when  at  Washing- 
ton, but  you  had  not  yet  sufficiently  recovered  to  receive  visits,  which 
I  extremely  regretted.  I  was  anxious  among  other  things  to  tell  you 
of  the  extreme  solicitude  wh  your  illness  had  excited  throughout  the 
South— it  must  have  been  extremely  gratifying  to  you.  I  certainly 
think  that  this  delightful  [.  .  .]  be  extremely  beneficial  to  you.  Will 
you  have  the  kindness  to  present  my  regards  to  Mrs.  Poinsett?  I 
shall  find  something  in  this  country  to  add  to  her  collection  &  I  will 
certainly  allow  myself  the  pleasure  of  bringing  them  to  her  on  my 
return.  I  am,  most  Respectfully,  Dear  Sir,  yr  obt  Servt. 

C.  Fremont 

ALS,  RC  (PHi— Poinsett  Papers).  Addressed  from  "Fort  Snelling  June  19" 
to  "Hon.  Joel  R.  Poinsett.  Secretary  of  War.  Washington  City  D.C." 

1.  Lawrence  Taliaferro  (1794-1871),  the  Indian  agent  at  St.  Peters  (Fort 
Snelling),  spent  many  years  trying  to  keep  peace  between  the  Sioux  and  their 
traditional  enemies,  the  Chippewas.  He  left  the  agency  in  1840. 

2.  It  was  Sibley  who  procured  the  voyageurs  for  Nicollet  and  became  re- 
sponsible as  agent  of  the  American  Fur  Company  for  their  reimbursement 
(see  Memo,  of  Agreement  between  H.  H.  Sibley  and  certain  voyageurs, 
[June  1838],  MnHi,  and  our  Doc.  No.  13,  voucher  no.  8). 

5.  Excerpt  from  the  Memoirs 


At  length  we  set  out.^  As  our  journey  was  to  be  over  level  and  un- 
broken country  the  camp  material  was  carried  in  one-horse  carts, 
driven  by  Canadian  voyageurs,  the  men  usually  employed  by  the 
Fur  Company  in  their  business  through  this  region.  M.  de  Mont- 
mort,"  a  French  gentleman  attached  to  the  legation  at  Washington, 


and  Mr.  Eugene  Flandin,  a  young  gentleman  belonging  to  a  French 
family  of  New  York,  accompanied  the  party  as  friends  of  Mr.  Nicol- 
let. These  were  pleasant  travelling  companions,  and  both  looked  up 
to  Mr.  Nicollet  with  affectionate  deference  and  admiration.  No 
botanist  had  been  allowed  to  Mr.  Nicollet  by  the  Government, 
but  he  had  for  himself  employed  Mr.  Charles  Geyer,  a  botanist 
recently  from  Germany,  of  unusual  practical  knowledge  in  his  pro- 
fession and  of  companionable  disposition. 

The  proposed  surveys  of  this  northwestern  region  naturally  di- 
vided themselves  into  two:  the  present  one,  at  this  point  connecting 
with  Mr.  Nicollet's  surveys  of  the  upper  Mississippi,  was  to  extend 
westward  to  the  waters  of  the  Missouri  Valley;  the  other,  intended 
for  the  operations  of  the  succeeding  year,  was  to  include  the  valley 
of  the  Missouri  River,  and  the  northwestern  prairies  as  far  as  to  the 
British  line. 

Our  route  lay  up  the  Mini-sotah  for  about  a  hundred  and  fifteen 
miles,  to  a  trading-post  at  the  lower  end  of  the  Traverse  des  Sioux; 
the  prairie  and  river  valley  being  all  beautiful  and  fertile  country. 
We  travelled  along  the  southern  side  of  the  river,  passing  on  the  way 
several  Indian  camps,  and  establishing  at  night  the  course  of  the 
river  by  astronomical  observations.  The  Traverse  des  Sioux  is  a  cross- 
ing-place about  thirty  miles  long,  where  the  river  makes  a  large  rec- 
tangular bend,  coming  down  from  the  northwest  and  turning 
abruptly  to  the  northeast;  the  streams  from  the  southeast,  the  south, 
and  southwest  flowing  into  a  low  line  of  depression  to  where  they 
gather  into  a  knot  at  the  head  of  this  bend,  and  into  its  lowest  part 
as  into  a  bowl.  In  this  great  elbow  of  the  river  is  the  Marah-tanka  or 
Big  Swan  Lake,  the  summer  resort  of  the  Sissiton  Sioux.  Our  way 
over  the  crossing  lay  between  the  lake  and  the  river.  At  the  end  of 
the  Traverse  we  returned  to  the  right  shore  at  the  mouth  of  the 
Waraju  or  Cottonwood  River,  and  encamped  near  the  principal  vil- 
lage of  the  Sissitons.  Their  lodges  were  pitched  in  a  beautiful  situa- 
tion, under  large  trees.  It  needs  only  the  slightest  incident  to  throw 
an  Indian  village  into  a  sudden  excitement  which  is  startling  to  a 
stranger.  We  are  occupied  quietly  among  the  Indians,  Mr.  Nicollet, 
as  usual,  surrounded  by  them,  with  the  aid  of  the  interpreter  getting 
them  to  lay  out  the  form  of  the  lake  and  the  course  of  the  streams 
entering  the  river  near  by,  and,  after  repeated  pronunciations,  enter- 
ing their  names  in  his  note-book ;  Geyer,  followed  by  some  Indians, 


curiously  watching  him  while  digging  up  plants;  and  I,  more  nu- 
merously attended,  pouring  out  the  quicksilver  for  the  artificial 
horizon,  each  in  his  way  busy  at  work;  when  suddenly  everything 
started  into  motion,  the  Indians  running  tumultuously  to  a  little  rise 
which  commanded  a  view  of  the  prairie,  all  clamor  and  excitement. 
The  commotion  was  caused  by  the  appearance  of  two  or  three  elk 
on  the  prairie  horizon.  Those  of  us  who  were  strangers,  and  igno- 
rant of  their  usages,  fancied  there  must  be  at  least  a  war-party  in 

From  this  point  we  travelled  up  the  Waraju  River  and  passed  a 
few  days  in  mapping  the  country  around  the  Pelican  Lakes,  and 
among  the  lower  spurs  of  the  Coteau  des  Frames,  a  plateau  which 
separates  the  waters  of  the  Mississippi  and  Missouri  Rivers.  This  is 
the  single  elevation  separating  the  prairies  of  the  two  rivers.  Ap- 
proaching it,  the  blue  line  which  it  presents,  marked  by  wooded 
ravines  in  contrast  with  the  green  prairie  which  sweeps  to  its  feet, 
suggested  to  the  voyageurs  the  name  they  gave  it,  of  the  Prairie 
Coast.  At  this  elevation,  about  fifteen  hundred  feet  above  the  sea,  the 
prairie  air  was  invigorating,  the  country  studded  with  frequent  lakes 
was  beautiful,  and  the  repose  of  a  few  days  was  refreshing  to  men 
and  animals  after  the  warmer  and  moister  air  of  the  lower  valley. 
Throughout  this  region,  the  rivers  and  lakes,  and  other  noticeable 
features  of  the  country,  bear  French  and  Indian  names,  Sioux  or 
Chippewa,  and  sometimes  Shayan  [Cheyenne].  Sometimes  they 
perpetuate  the  memory  of  an  early  French  discoverer,  or  rest  upon 
some  distinguishing  local  character  of  stream  or  lake;  and  some- 
times they  record  a  simple  incident  of  chase  or  war  which  in  their 
limited  history  were  events. 

We  now  headed  for  our  main  object  in  this  direction,  the  Red 
Pipe  Stone  Quarry,  which  was  to  be  the  limit  of  our  western  travel ; 
from  there  we  were  to  turn  directly  north.  All  this  country  had  been 
a  battle-ground  between  the  Sioux  and  Sacs  and  Foxes.  Crossing  the 
high  plains  over  which  our  journey  now  lay,  we  became  aware  that 
we  were  followed  by  a  party  of  Indians.  Guard  at  night  was  neces- 
sary. But  it  was  no  light  thing,  after  a  day's  work  of  sketching  the 
country,  to  stand  guard  the  night  through,  as  it  now  fell  to  me 
among  others  to  do.  When  we  would  make  the  noon  halt  I 
promptly  took  my  share  of  it  under  the  shade  of  a  cart  in  deep  sleep, 
which  the  fragrant  breeze  of  the  prairie  made  delightful. 

Our  exaggerated  precautions  proved  useless,  as  the  suspected  hos- 
tile party  were  only  friendly  Sioux  who,  knowing  nothing  about  us, 
were  on  their  side  cautiously  watching  us. 

The  Indians  have  a  belief  that  the  Spirit  of  the  Red  Pipe  Stone 
speaks  in  thunder  and  lightning  whenever  a  visit  is  made  to  the 
Quarry.  With  a  singular  coincidence  such  a  storm  broke  upon  us  as 
we  reached  it,  and  the  confirmation  of  the  legend  was  pleasing  to 
young  Renville^  and  the  Sioux  who  had  accompanied  us. 

As  we  came  into  the  valley  the  storm  broke  away  in  a  glow  of 
sunshine  on  the  line  of  red  bluff  which  extended  for  about  three 
miles.  The  day  after  our  arrival  the  party  of  Indians  we  had  been 
watching  came  in.  We  spent  three  friendly  days  together;  they  were 
after  the  red  pipe  stone,  and  we  helped  them,  by  using  gunpowder, 
to  uncover  the  rock. 

It  was  in  itself  a  lovely  place,  made  interesting  by  the  mysterious 
character  given  to  it  by  Indian  tradition,  and  because  of  the  fact  that 
the  existence  of  such  a  rock  is  not  known  anywhere  else.  It  is  on  the 
land  of  the  Sissiton  Sioux,  but  the  other  Indians  make  to  it  annual 
pilgrimages,  as  it  is  from  this  they  make  their  images  and  pipes. 
This  famous  stone,  where  we  saw  it,  was  in  a  layer  about  a  foot  and 
a  half  thick,  overlaid  by  some  twenty-six  feet  of  red-colored  indu- 
rated sand-rock;  the  color  diminishing  in  intensity  from  the  base  to 
the  summit.  The  water  in  the  little  valley  had  led  the  buffalo 
through  it  in  their  yearly  migration  from  north  to  south,  and  the 
tradition  is  that  their  trail  wore  away  the  surface  and  uncovered  the 

There  was  a  detached  pedestal  standing  out  a  few  feet  away  from 
the  bluff,  and  about  twenty-five  feet  high.  It  was  quite  a  feat  to 
spring  to  this  from  the  bluff,  as  the  top  was  barely  a  foot  square  and 
uneven,  and  it  required  a  sure  foot  not  to  go  further.  This  was  a 
famous  place  of  the  country,  and  nearly  all  of  us,  as  is  the  custom  in 
famous  places  the  world  over,  carved  our  names  in  the  stone.  It 
speaks  for  the  enduring  quality  of  this  rock  that  the  names  remain 
distinct  to  this  day. 

When  the  position  had  been  established  and  other  objects  of  the 
visit  accomplished,  we  took  up  the  northern  line  of  march  for  the 
Lac  qui  park,  the  trading-post  and  residence  of  the  Renville  family. 

On  our  way  we  passed  through  and  mapped  the  charming  lake 
country  of  the  Coteau  des  Prairies. 

The  head  of  the  Renville  family,^  a  French  Canadian,  was  a 


border  chief.  Between  him  and  the  British  Hne  was  an  unoccupied 
region  of  some  seven  hundred  miles.  Over  all  the  Indian  tribes 
which  ranged  these  plains  he  had  a  controlling  influence;  they 
obeyed  himself  and  his  son,  who  was  a  firm-looking  man  of  decided 
character.  Their  good  will  was  a  passport  over  this  country. 

The  hospitable  reception  which  is  the  rule  of  the  country  met  us 
here.  I  take  pleasure  in  emphasizing  and  dwelling  on  this,  because 
it  is  apart  from  the  hospitality  of  civilized  life.  There  is  lively  satis- 
faction on  both  sides.  The  advent  of  strangers  in  an  isolated  place 
brings  novelty  and  excitement,  and  to  the  stranger  arriving,  there  is 
great  enjoyment  in  the  change  from  privations  and  watchful  unrest, 
to  the  quiet  safety  and  profusion  of  plenty  in  such  a  frontier  home. 
Our  stay  here  was  made  very  agreeable.  We  had  abundance  of  milk 
and  fresh  meat  and  vegetables,  all  seasoned  with  a  traveller's  appetite 
and  a  hearty  welcome. 

To  gratify  us  a  game  of  Lacrosse  was  played  with  spirit  and  skill 
by  the  Indians.  Among  the  players  was  a  young  half-breed  of  un- 
usual height,  who  was  incomparably  the  swiftest  runner  among 
them.  He  was  a  relation  of  the  Renvilles  and  seemed  to  have  some 
recognized  family  authority,  for  during  the  play  he  would  seize  an 
Indian  by  his  long  hair  and  hurl  him  backward  to  the  ground  to 
make  room  for  himself,  the  other  taking  it  as  matter  of  course. 

Some  time  was  spent  here  in  visiting  the  various  lakes  near  by, 
fixing  their  position  and  gathering  information  concerning  the  char- 
acter of  the  country  and  its  Indians.  This  over,  and  the  limit  of  the 
present  journey  attained,  we  turned  our  faces  eastward  and  started 
back  to  the  mouth  of  the  St.  Peter's. 

While  Mr.  Nicollet  was  occupied  in  making  a  survey  of  the 
Lesueur  River,  and  identifying  localities  and  verifying  accounts  of 
preceding  travellers,  I  was  sent  to  make  an  examination  of  the  Man- 
kato  or  Blue  Earth  River,  which  bore  upon  the  subjects  he  had  in 
view.  The  eastern  division  of  the  expedition  now  closed  with  our 
return  to  Mr.  Sibley's. 

Among  the  episodes  which  gave  a  livelier  coloring  to  the  instruc- 
tive part  of  this  campaign,  was  a  hunting  expedition  on  which  I 
went  with  Mr.  Sibley.'"^  With  him  also  went  M.  Faribault,*''  a  favorite 
companion  of  his  on  such  occasions.  It  was  a  royal  hunt.  He  took 
with  him  the  whole  of  Red  Dog's  village — men,  women,  and  chil- 
dren. The  hunting-ground  was  a  number  of  days'  journey  to  the 
south,  in  loway,  where  game  was  abundant;  many  deer  and  some 


elk.  It  was  in  November,  when  the  does  are  in  their  best  condition. 
The  country  was  well  timbered  and  watered,  stretches  of  prairie  in- 
terspersed with  clumps  and  lines  of  woods. 

Early  in  the  morning  the  chief  would  indicate  the  camping- 
ground  for  the  night,  and  the  men  sally  out  for  the  hunt.  The 
women,  with  the  camp  equipage,  would  then  make  direct  for  the 
spot  pointed  out,  ordinarily  some  grove  about  nine  miles  distant. 
Toward  nightfall  the  hunters  came  in  with  their  game. 

The  day's  tramp  gave  a  lively  interest  to  the  principal  feature 
which  the  camp  presented;  along  the  woods  bright  fires,  where  fat 
venison  was  roasting  on  sticks  before  them,  or  stewing  with  corn  or 
wild  rice  in  pots  hanging  from  tripods;  squaws  busy  over  the  cook- 
ing and  children  rolling  about  over  the  ground.  No  sleep  is  better 
or  more  restoring  than  follows  such  a  dinner,  earned  by  such  a  day. 

On  the  march  one  day,  a  squaw  dropped  behind,  but  came  into 
camp  a  little  later  than  the  others,  bringing  a  child  a  few  hours  old. 
By  circumstance  of  birth  he  should  have  become  a  mighty  hunter, 
but  long  before  he  reached  man's  age  he  had  lost  birthright,  he  and 
his  tribe,  and  I  doubt  if  he  got  even  the  mess  of  pottage  for  which 
Esau  bartered  his.  During  the  hunt  we  had  the  experience  of  a 
prairie  fire.  We  were  on  a  detached  excursion,  Sibley,  Faribault  and 
I.  After  midnight  we  were  aroused  from  a  sound  sleep  by  the  crack- 
ling noise,  and  springing  to  our  feet,  found  ourselves  surrounded, 
without  a  minute  to  lose.  Gathering  in  our  animals,  we  set  fire  to 
the  grass  near  our  tent,  transferring  quickly  animals  and  baggage  to 
the  cleared  ground.  The  fire  swept  past,  and  in  a  few  seconds  struck 
a  grove  of  aspens  near  by  and  leaped  up  the  trees,  making  a  wall  of 
flame  that  sent  a  red  glow  into  the  sky  brighter  even  than  the  waves 
of  fire  that  rolled  over  the  prairie.  We  lost  nothing,  only  tent  and 
belongings  a  little  blackened  with  the  smouldering  grass;  but  the 
harm  was  to  the  woods  and  the  game. 

The  work  of  the  year  and  in  this  quarter  was  now  finished,  and 
we  returned  to  St.  Louis,  to  prepare  for  the  survey  of  the  more  west- 
ern division  in  the  succeeding  year. 

MEMOIRS,  34-38. 

1.  The  route  which  JCF  now  describes  took  the  expedition  southwest  from 
Fort  Snelling,  at  present  Minneapolis  and  St.  Paul,  Minn.,  along  the  Minne- 
sota River  to  the  vicinity  of  Mankato,  then  westward  to  the  Cottonwood  River 
near  New  Ulm.  Ascending  the  Cottonwood  and  its  tributaries,  the  party 
reached  the  Lake  Shetek  complex  in  Murray  County — and  one  of  the  smaller 


lakes  in  the  group  is  now  called  Lake  Fremont.  After  visiting  the  pipestone 
quarry  at  Pipestone,  Minn.,  the  expedition  headed  north  toward  Lac  qui  Parle. 
JCF  says  the  party  traveled  due  north  over  the  high  plains,  but  the  map  is- 
sued with  Nicollet's  Report  shows  the  group  swinging  to  the  west  as  far  as 
the  Big  Sioux  River,  then  approaching  Lac  qui  Parle  from  the  west.  From  this 
point  the  route  followed  the  Minnesota  back  down  to  Fort  Snelling,  except 
for  a  couple  of  diversions  which  JCF  mentions. 

2.  The  Count  de  Montmort  was  attached  to  the  French  legation  in  Wash- 
ington until  1841.  It  is  clear  that  he  traveled  with  Nicollet  during  a  part 
of  this  expedition,  but  he  returned  to  Washington  sometime  in  1838.  He  did 
not  go  out  again  in  the  spring  of  1839  (almanac,  1840,  1841).  Besides  Flan- 
din,  there  appears  to  have  been  still  another  French  adventurer  with  the  ex- 
pedition. According  to  the  vouchers  for  the  1838  expedition,  a  captain  named 
Belligny  traveled  with  the  party  for  about  forty  days — paying  his  own  way.  It 
is  not  certain  where  Belligny  joined  Nicollet.  In  a  letter  of  2  July  1838,  Fred- 
erick Gebhardt  and  Co.  of  New  York  introduced  Gaspard  de  Belligny  to 
Ramsay  Crooks,  saying  he  was  from  Lyons  and  wished  to  tour  the  U.S.  and 
see  the  Indians,  and  asked  for  letters  to  Detroit  and  St.  Louis  for  him. 
(amer.  fur  CO.,  1:  item  4721).  Another  letter,  written  20  Aug.  1838  by 
Gabriel  Franchere  (MnHi— Sibley  Papers)  calls  Belligny  "a  French  gende- 
man  who  travels  the  country  for  his  amusement  and  information."  But  by  the 
time  these  letters  were  written  the  work  of  the  expedition  was  well  under 
way.  There  is  no  documentation  for  JCF's  statement  (p.  53)  that  Belligny 
was  with  the  1839  expedition. 

3.  Joseph  Renville,  Jr.,  son  of  Joseph  Renville  of  Lac  qui  Parle,  served  as 
guide  and  interpreter  to  Nicollet.  For  his  services  and  the  use  of  Renville's 
wagons  and  horses  he  was  given  a  horse  and  a  $40.00  double-barreled  gun 
(see  voucher  no.  14,  our  p.  40,  and  ackermann). 

4.  Joseph  Renville  (1779-1846)  had  been  in  the  Sioux  country  most  of  his 
life  (his  mother  was  a  Sioux)  and  had  served  as  an  interpreter  in  1805-6  when 
Zebulon  Pike  explored  the  Upper  Mississippi.  After  serving  as  a  British  army 
captain  in  the  War  of  1812,  he  entered  the  service  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Com- 
pany, then  helped  to  organize  the  Columbia  Fur  Company.  When  his  com- 
pany was  sold  he  moved  to  Lac  qui  Parle,  built  a  trading  post,  and  spent  the 
rest  of  his  life  there  (ackermann;  chittenden,  1:323-37). 

5.  The  hunting  expedition  described  here  may  not  have  occurred  until  1839. 
Taliaferro  saw  JCF  with  the  Nicollet  party  28  Oct.  1838  bound  for  St.  Louis, 
according  to  his  journal  (MnHi).  On  the  other  hand,  Nicollet  had  to  wait  for 
JCF  at  Prairie  du  Chien  the  following  autumn  when,  presumably,  he  was 
hunting  with  Sibley.  Sibley  himself  says  that  he  accompanied  JCF  to  Prairie 
du  Chien  after  the  hunt — but  he  erroneously  dates  it  1840  (sibley  [3]).  Al- 
though he  does  not  mention  Fremont  in  the  letter  he  wrote  to  his  father  from 
Prairie  du  Chien  on  5  Nov.  1839,  Sibley  does  say  he  had  just  arrived  in  that 
river  town  from  having  conducted  "a  party  of  Sioux  down  to  the  Red  Cedar 
River  (a  tributary  of  the  Lower  Iowa)  on  the  west  of  the  Mississippi  on  a 
hunting  excursion"  of  one  month  (MnHi — Sibley  Papers).  He  had  come  to 
Prairie  du  Chien  to  meet  Ramsay  Crooks,  who  incidentally  arrived  back  in  St. 
Louis  in  time  to  go  east  with  Nicollet. 

6.  Alexander  Faribault  (1806-82)  was  long  a  prominent  factor  for  the 
American  Fur  Company,  established  several  trading  posts  in  the  Cannon 
River  area,  and  founded  the  city  of  Faribault,  Minn.  He  became  a  representa- 
tive in  the  territorial  legislature  in  1851  (sibley  [2];  minn.  coll.,  vol.  14). 


6.  Fremont  to  Henry  H.  Sibley 

Lac  qui  Parle,  Sioux  Country 

16  July  38 
Dear  Sir 

I  avail  myself  of  the  opportunity  offered  by  Mr.  Browns  departure 
this  afternoon  to  acquaint  you  with  the  success  of  the  expedition 
thus  far  &  at  the  same  time  so  express  my  regret  that  in  our  contem- 
plated excursion  to  the  Devil's  Lake  we  cannot  hope  to  enjoy  the 
society  of  yourself,  Capt.  Scott,  Marryatt  &c.  The  chief  of  the  Yanc- 
tons  who  has  been  waiting  for  us  here  &  who  accompanies  us  in  a 
visit  to  Lac  Travers  &  the  Riviere  a  Jaques  says  that  unless  we  are 
fond  of  walking  it  will  not  be  wise  to  go  to  Lac  du  Diable  at  present. 
The  Indians  from  the  Missouri  460  Lodge  of  Tetons  &  300  of  the 
Yanctons  are  there  at  present — amounting  as  we  are  told  to  probably 
4000  warriors,  all  with  the  old  hate  of  the  Americans  &  the  small- 
pox. They  will  winter  there  so  that  it  is  not  probable  that  Marryatt 
will  give  us  next  summer  anything  in  [James  Fenimore]  Cooper's 
line,  tho'  I  am  sure  that  he  has  told  you  something  of  such  a  design. 
I  would  give  much  to  know  if  you  are  determined  to  carry  your  plan 
into  execution  &  go  there  in  September.  Mr.  Nicollet  they  tell  us 
cannot  with  any  sort  of  prudence  go  now,  tho'  as  we  shall  shortly 
be  within  8  days  journey  of  the  Lake  I  should  not  be  surprised  if  his 
anxiety  to  visit  that  section  of  the  country  induced  him  to  attempt  it. 
We  will  be  somewhat  emboldened  too  by  the  favorable  circum- 
stances which  have  hitherto  attended  us.  Until  yesterday  we  had  not 
had  two  hours  rain  in  all  our  journey  skies  without  a  cloud  the  nights 
delightfully  cool  &  the  thermometer  sometimes  as  low  as  45°  +  not 
an  evening  lost  to  astronomical  observations.  The  scenery  too  was  oc- 
casionally surpassingly  beautiful — &  I  never  tho'  something  of  a 
Traveller  had  my  love  of  the  beautiful  in  nature  more  completely 
gratified  than  when  we  reached  the  Pelican  group  of  Lakes.  It  is  al- 
together of  the  character  which  the  French  term  gracieux  &  I  believe 
we  have  nothing  so  in  our  language  to  express  it  more  justly — we 
afterwards  met  with  Lake  scenery  more  beautiful  perhaps  but  with 
me  none  excited  such  emotions  as  the  first.  We  have  visited  the  pipe 
Quarry  &  I  should  have  been  satisfied  if  we  had  made  the  journey 
merely  for  the  purpose  of  seeing  it.  I  could  compare  it  to  nothing 
perhaps  more  justly  than  to  the  Ruins  of  some  Porphyritic  city 


standing  on  the  verge  of  a  desolate  plain  which  had  once  been  cov- 
ered w^ith  luxuriant  farms  &  splendid  villas — we  passed  the  5  lodges 
without  difficulty  &  are  now  quiet  here  but  busily  at  work  for  a  day 
or  two.  Mr.  Nicollet  begged  me  in  writing  for  myself  to  write  for 
him  also,  with  his  regards  he  sends  you  a  Box  of  Sardines  &  part  of 
a  saucisson — the  sardines  I  can  assure  you  are  really  excellent  &  you 
must  enjoy  them.  Will  you  have  the  kindness  to  present  my  regards 
to  the  Officers  of  the  Garrison  particularly  to  Major  Plympton's  & 
Lieut.  Smith's  families.  Remember  me  if  you  please  to  the  gentle- 
men of  your  family.  We  shall  be  with  you  about  the  15th  of  next 
month.  With  much  respect,  Yours  truly, 

C.  Fremont 

P.S.  We  find  it  hard  that  you  sent  us  not  even  a  word  by  Mr.  Brown 
— not  one  word — all  the  party  join  in  presenting  their  regards  to  you 
— you  were  too  much  occupied  with  [.  .  .]  to  think  of  us — excuse 
haste,  etc. 

ALS,  RC  (MnHi — Sibley  Papers).  Addressed  to  Sibley  at  St.  Peters.  Per- 
sons mentioned  in  this  letter  include  Joseph  Renshaw  Brown  (1805-70),  a 
trader  with  the  Sioux  who  had  come  to  Minnesota  as  a  boy  with  the  troops 
that  built  Fort  Snelling;  Capt.  Martin  Scott  (1788-1847),  who  was  stationed 
at  Fort  Snelling  from  about  1821  to  1840  (williams  [2]);  Capt.  Frederick 
Marryat  (1792-1848),  British  author  who  stopped  for  a  brief  time  with  Sibley 
when  he  visited  the  U.S.  in  1837-38  and  gave  an  account  of  his  tour  in  A 
Diary  in  America  (London,  1838);  Maj.  Joseph  Plympton  (d.  1860),  the 
commandant  at  Fort  Snelling,  1837-41;  and  Lieut.  E.  Kirby  Smith,  stationed 
therein  1837  and  1838. 

7.  Fremont  to  Joel  R.  Poinsett 

St.  Peters  Wisconsin  Territory 
Sepr.  5th  1838— 
Dear  Sir 

I  hasten  to  give  you  immediately  on  our  arrival  a  brief  account  of 
our  recent  campaign.  We  have  returned  without  having  a  single  tale 
of  danger  or  suffering  to  relate — no  one  sick  no  accident — we  have 
not  even  starved  a  little  &  starvation  is  the  most  common  accident  in 
this  country.  On  the  contrary  we  are  here  in  fine  health  &  exuberant 
spirits  &  in  the  exultation  of  the  most  complete  success.  I  should  be 


glad  to  relate  to  you  some  of  the  many  interesting  incidents  of  our 
journey,  but  in  the  narrow  limits  of  a  letter  it  is  impossible  to  do 
justice  to  any  of  the  events  wh.  which  every  day  was  crowded.  It 
seemed  as  if  it  were  the  will  of  Providence  that  the  magnificent 
country  we  have  traversed  should  no  longer  be  without  an  inhabi- 
tant, so  highly  favored  by  circumstances  that  it  seemed  as  if  an  in- 
visible hand  smoothed  &  prepared  our  way.  Mr.  Nicollet  has  several 
times  suffered  such  an  opinion  to  escape  him,  for  mingled  with  his 
zeal  for  science  &  warmed  by  the  enthusiasm  characteristic  of  his 
countrymen,  he  cherishes  the  most  exalted  religious  feeling.  For  39 
days  out  of  a  journey  of  85,  we  travelled  on  without  the  loss  of  an 
hour  &  meeting  wh.  scarcely  2  hours  rain — during  the  bright  skies 
whose  heat  was  tempered  by  winds  like  those  from  the  sea  sweeping 
over  the  prairies  &  cloudless  nights,  offering  us  every  facility  for  our 
numerous  astronomical  observations.  Told  before  our  departure  that 
dangers  wd.  beset  every  step,  wh.  gloomy  accounts  of  hostile  tribes 
whose  country  we  were  obliged  to  traverse — we  were  every  where 
received  with  the  warmest  demonstrations  of  welcome  &  hospitality. 
On  our  arrival  in  the  Indian  country  proper,  Mr.  Nicollet  sent  a 
messenger  to  a  formidable  tribe  which  lay  in  our  route,  of  his  inten- 
tion to  pass  thro'  their  country.  With  our  messenger  returned  their 
chief,  a  man  nearly  7  ft.  in  height  &  in  proportion  a  study  for  a  stat- 
uary. "I  heard  of  your  arrival,"  said  he,  "&  tho'  wounded  I  could  not 
rest  in  my  Lodge,  but  have  flown  to  welcome  you  to  our  country. 
You  are  going  to  visit  that  country  &  where  you  go  our  enemies 
throng.  I  must  go  with  you.  My  first  wish  is  to  die  for  the  whites." 
You  may  be  sure  that  his  proffer  of  friendship  was  warmly  met,  but 
we  told  him  how  impossible  it  was  for  him  to  travel  in  such  a  state  & 
at  last  induced  him  reluctantly  to  abandon  his  intention.  "But  I  give 
you  then  my  Son,"  said  he,— "he  is  to  me  the  dearest  thing  on  earth, 
but  my  heart  will  be  rejoiced  if  he  dies  fighting  for  the  whites."  "I 
will  answer  for  his  life  with  mine,"  said  Mr.  N.  &  I  believe  that  each 
present  formed  a  silent  determination  to  bring  back  that  Indian  or 
remain  on  the  prairie  wh  him.  We  had  a  council  on  that  evening, 
when  Mr.  N.  explained  to  the  indians  the  purpose  of  his  coming 
among  them.  He  was  already  known  to  them  as  the  Great  French 
Spirit.  "I  come,  as  you  know,  from  the  nation  beyond  the  great  Salt 
Lake  whose  chief  many  years  ago  was  your  Father.  My  Grandfather 
then  came  to  visit  the  Sioux  &  to  do  them  some  good  &  the  Sioux  all 
treated  him  well.  My  people  &  yours  were  then  brothers.  My  an- 


cestors  returned  to  their  own  country,  but  they  did  not  forget  their 
brethren  the  Sioux  &  spoke  often  of  them  to  their  children.  Their 
children  did  not  forget  the  words  of  the  old  men  &  they  are  anxious 
to  hear  from  their  friends  the  Sioux  &  to  know  if  they  are  happy  & 
have  plenty  of  Bufifalos.  So  I  have  come  to  know  these  things.  But  I 
went  first  to  shake  the  hand  wh  your  great  Father  at  Washington,  & 
he  said,  "Go  to  my  children  the  Sioux.  They  live  so  far  from  me  that 
I  do  not  know  what  they  want.  Go  &  look  at  their  country  &  count 
their  lodges.  Take  them  something  to  eat  &  do  them  some  good,  & 
tell  my  children  that  I  send  you  to  them  &  that  when  you  come  back 
&  bring  good  words  of  them,  I  will  make  their  Fires  very  large  as 
they  were  long  ago,  &  my  children  shall  be  happy."  It  was  affecting 
to  hear  that  chief's  reply,  spoken  with  natural  eloquence  &  an  abrupt 
energy  peculiar  to  the  savage  &  always  startling  to  the  listener.  He 
spoke  of  his  nation,  of  the  earlier  and  happier  periods  of  its  history 
&  contrasted  these  with  its  present  poverty  &  rapid  decay.  "Then," 
said  he,  "the  Buffalo  covered  the  plains.  Our  enemies  fled  before  us 
&  the  blaze  of  our  Fires  was  seen  from  afar,  but  they  have  dwindled 
away  until  their  light  is  almost  extinguished.  There  is  no  more 
games  &  my  people  are  few  &  our  enemies  press  us  on  every  side. 
We  thought  that  we  were  to  die  when  the  snow  comes  but  you  come 
&  bring  us  life.  Our  sky  was  covered  with  clouds  &  dark  with  storm, 
but  you  came  &  again  the  sun  shines  bright  in  the  blue  heavens  &  we 
are  happy."  Mr.  N.  has  always  labored  to  prevent  these  people  from 
going  to  war.  "I  give  you  this  powder,"  he  wd.  tell  them,  "to  kill 
game  for  the  support  of  your  women  &  children  &  to  pay  your  debts 
to  the  Traders,  but  do  not  dare  to  go  to  war  with  it — with  it  you 
will  be  successful  in  the  chase,  but  your  scalp  will  hang  in  your 
enemy's  lodge  if  you  carry  it  with  you  to  war."  He  always  repre- 
sented himself  [to]  these  people  as  specially  sent  by  the  President  to 
enquire  into  their  condition  with  a  view  of  improving  it — endeavor- 
ing in  every  way  to  promote  the  interests  of  the  U.  States.  The  tact  & 
judgment  displayed  in  his  intercourse  wh  them  has  been  eminently 
successful,  &  I  could  not  dwell  too  much  upon  his  superb  manage- 
ment of  the  expedition — not  an  article  lost  or  broken  throughout  our 
long  journey,  not  a  horse  injured  or  stolen,  a  set  of  the  most  ungov- 
ernable men  in  the  world  reduced  in  less  than  a  week  to  perfect 
order  &  obedience,  the  whole  party  cheerful  &  contented  &  all  con- 
ducted wh  the  strictest  regard  to  economy,  superintending  in  person 
the  most  trifling  details  of  duty — giving,  himself,  the  Reveille  at  4  in 


the  morning,  travelling  all  day  pencil  in  hand  sketching  &  noting 
everything — physical  and  descriptive  Geography,  Geology,  Meteo- 
rology, terrestrial  magnetism,  study  of  the  resources  of  the  country 
in  relation  to  its  future  political  condition — nothing  but  the  most 
extraordinary  devotion  to  the  cause  of  science  could  have  supported 
him  under  such  unremitted  labor — night  came  but  brought  v/h  it  no 
cessation  of  toil,  our  astronomical  observations  were  frequently  pro- 
tracted beyond  the  turn  of  the  night  &  every  fourth  night  one  of  the 
officers  kept  watch  until  daylight.  Mr.  N.  taking  his  turn  among  the 
rest — "C'est  bien,"  he  wd.  sometimes  say  with  exultation,  when  after 
the  toils  were  over,  we  stood  to  converse  a  little  at  our  midnight 
fires,  our  frames  exhausted  &  our  blood  fevered  with  the  merciless 
attacks  of  the  mosquitoes — c'est  bien  n'est-ce  pas  ?  so  much  is  done. 
No  matter  what  happens,  if  we  die  tonight,  we  shall  have  done 
something  good  for  science. 

After  having  explored  the  Coteaux  des  Prairies  in  length  140  miles, 
visited  extensively  the  region  of  the  Red  Pipe  Stone  quarry  &  the 
region  watered  by  the  Blue  Earth  Riv.  &  its  numerous  Forks,  we  go 
now  to  take  advantage  of  the  few  days  that  remain  of  the  favorable 
season  to  explore  the  wild  &  broken  region  that  lies  immediately 
west  of  the  Mississippi  &  south  of  the  St.  Peters. 

I  have  the  pleasure  to  thank  you  for  my  appointment  to  the  Topi. 
Engineers.  Major  Plympton  informed  me  of  it  on  my  arrival  here  & 
showed  me  my  name  on  the  list.  I  do  not  transmit  to  the  Depart- 
ment an  acceptance  form,  because  I  have  not  yet  received  any  com- 
munication on  that  subject — indeed  we  are  all,  expecially  Mr. 
Nicollet,  extremely  disappointed  in  having  received  no  letters  from 
any  quarter  on  our  arrival  after  a  somewhat  long  absence. 

We  have  been  transacting  our  money  affairs  thro'  the  Am.  Fur 
Co.  &  as  we  close  our  business  with  that  company  at  St.  Louis,  we 
have  to  request  that  two  or  three  thousand  dollars  may  be  trans- 
mitted to  that  place,  which  we  shall  probably  reach  in  the  latter  days 
of  October.  Mr.  N.  told  me  that  it  is  not  necessary  to  make  a  formal 
requisition.  I  leave  this  letter  with  Mr.  H.  Sibley,  of  the  Am.  Fur 
Co.,  to  be  forwarded  by  the  first  steamboat.  Very  Respectfully  Dear 
Sir,  Your  Obt.  Servt. 

C.  Fremont 

ALS,  RC  (PHi— Poinsett  Papers). 


8.  J.  J.  Abert  to  Pratte,  Chouteau  and  Company 

Bureau  of  Top.  Engineers 
Washington,  Octr.  18th.  1838. 

Your  letter  of  the  5th  inst.  has  been  duly  received. 

By  the  enclosed  extract  from  the  instructions  to  Lieut.  Freemont, 
who  is  with  Mr.  Nicollet,  you  will  perceive  that  he  is  the  disbursing 
agent  of  the  expedition,  and  that  all  its  accounts  will  have  to  be  set- 
tled by  him.  As  Mr.  Nicollet  was  fully  aware  of  this  arrangement 
before  he  left  St.  Louis,  that  he  did  not  apprize  you  of  it  could  have 
been  only  from  an  oversight.  Lieut.  Freemonts  application  for  funds 
will  be  immediately  complied  with.  He  will  adjust  your  account  if 
approved  by  Mr.  Nicollet,  but  as  neither  of  these  gentlemen  are 
probably  fully  aware  of  the  exactness  required  by  our  accounting 
officers  in  the  final  adjustments  of  accounts,  you  will  pardon  me  in 
suggesting  the  propriety  of  your  charges  being  sustained  by  special 
statements  of  quantities  &  prices.  Very  respectfully, 

J.  J.  Abert,  C.T.E. 
Lbk(DNA-77,LS,  2:627). 

9.  Fragment  of  a  Fremont  Journal 

[22-26  Oct.  1838] 

Oct.  22d.  1838.  This  morning  an  Indian  from  M.  Nicollet— to  my 
great  surprise  he  is  at  Sibley's — has  made  a  voyage  full  of  success  but 
attended  wh.  hardship — 12  jours  [.  .  •]  par  la  faim  et  I'incendre  des 
prairies — says  that  in  3  days  at  farthest  he  will  start  to  join  me — 
despatched  Baptisier^  at  8  a.m.  to  Wells,"  ^  days  journey  on  Lake 
Pepin,  in  search  of  Flour,  Sugar,  &c.  Evening — this  day  passed  as  the 
others,  in  walking  among  the  neighboring  hills,  reading  &c.  Snow 
still  covers  the  high  prairies.  I  find  nothing  remarkable  in  Geology, 
Limestone  &  Sandstone  with  some  handsome  conglomerates  &  occa- 
sionally a  granite  Boulder.  I  believe  that  I  have  forgotten  to  mention 
in  its  proper  place  a  large  granite  Boulder  on  the  shore  of  Lake 


Pepin  when  the  wind  compelled  me  to  encamp  during  the  13th  & 
14th  ult.  The  soil  being  excellent,  all  the  vegetables  I  have  seen  are 
very  large  &  fairly  flavoured,  Turnips,  Potatoes,  carrots  &c.  Roque"* 
might  have  a  beautiful  &  comfortable  farm,  he  has  Cows,  Oxen, 
Horses,  all  the  material — but  the  spirit  of  Indian  indolence  seems  to 
pervade  all  here  &  provided  there  is  enough  to  satisfy  the  wants  of 
the  present  moment,  they  do  not  look  beyond.  4  Indian  Lodges  en- 
camped here  yesterday  &  they  have  been  a  little  troublesome  to  us 
today — they  began  to  congregate  around  our  fire  at  supper  time,  but 
our  good  cook  routed  them,  &  they  betook  themselves  to  Roque's 
family  fire  &  in  a  few  moments  more  than  a  Dozen  were  assembled 
there — their  kettle  hanging  over  the  fire  &  a  close  array  of  wild 
Ducks  en  appolas  encircling  it. 

Oct.  23d.  The  day  has  opened  beautifully — a  bright  spring  sun 
shining  in  a  clear  sky  for  the  first  time  since  the  10th  ult.  The  lake 
&  the  river,  notwithstanding  its  swift  current,  smooth  as  a  mirror. 
Above  and  below  this  place  the  river  freezes,  but  immediately  in 
front  of  the  house,  never.  Why  ?  After  Breakfast  walked  wh.  Flan- 
din  on  the  road  by  wh.  Baptisier  was  to  return  &  ascended  one  of  the 
mountains  near  the  entrance  of  the  lake  &  walked  for  a  short  dis- 
tance along  the  [three  words  illegible]  snow  on  summit.  Flandin 
took  off  his  coat  on  reaching  the  summit  (instead  of  Buttoning  it)  & 
lost  a  little  work  on  astronomy,  a  present  from  M.  Verrot*  of  Bait. 
Fine  view  here — think  that  the  Riv.  aux  Boeufs  is  a  mouth  of  the 
Riv.  des  Sauteurs — the  whole  intervening  space  from  the  Cote  to 
latter  being  occupied  by  channels  &  marais — very  nearly  the  same  as 
the  Riv.  aux  Embarras  &  the  Riv.  a  I'eau  Blanche.  Day  passed  as 
usual,  much  pleased  wh.  "La  Perfectibilite  humaine."  Towards  Eve- 
ning Maxime"'  returned  wh.  6  fine  Ducks  &  shortly  after  came  Bap- 
tisier— he  had  purchased  Flour,  Coflfee,  tea  &  sugar  to  the  amount  of 
4.50  &  had  lost,  he  said,  2.50.  I  was  informed  after  his  departure  yes- 
terday that  he  never  lost  an  opportunity  to  become  intoxicated  &  he 
had  enjoyed  this  at  Wells'.  Supped  well  &  slept  well.  After  supper 
sat  up  some  time  listening  to  Augustin's  account  of  Indian  feuds  &c. 

Oct.  24.  Mr.  N.  not  yet  arrived.  Rains  constantly  wh.  high  wind 
from  the  north  during  the  night  but  wh.  the  morning  the  rain — the 
sun  broke  out  gloriously  among  the  clouds,  though  the  wind  rose 
higher.  It  sweeps  down  river  wh.  is  so  ruffled  as  to  look  like  a  rapid 
today,  &  the  little  lake  is  angry  &  white.  1  P.M.  have  returned  from  a 
walk  to  the  hills.  The  snow  still  lies  in  sheltered  places — the  wind  is 


blowing  Keenly  &  the  sky  covered  wh.  dark,  hard  clouds  threaten- 
ing snow.  Maxime  has  retd.  from  the  chase  bringing  wh.  him  10 
Ducks  &  a  large  &  very  fat  Goose.  I  take  much  pleasure  in  listening 
to  his  narrations  of  these  expeditions.  The  colour  of  the  goose  is 
body  gray,  neck  &  head  black,  the  latter  having  a  white  band.  About 
5  O'clock  a  party  of  Americans,  5  in  number  came  to  the  house  & 
requested  permission  to  stay  the  night,  which  was  cold,  raw  & 
windy — granted  of  course — displayed  a  full  measure  of  that  trouble- 
some curiosity  &  intolerable  ill  manners  peculiar  to  the  \several 
words  cut  from  paper]  very  much  annoyed  by  them.  They  were 
from  the  Mile  or  Chippeway  river  bound  to  the  Prairie  du  Chien — 
they  left  us  next  morning  after  breakfast. 

Oct.  25  Thursday.  M.  N.  not  arrived.  Spent  the  day  in  reading, 
mapping  &  walking.  Maxime  startfed]  for  the  chase  at  daylight 
this  morning  &  return [ed]  at  Breakfast  time  wh.  2  very  fat  Geese  & 
2  [.  .  .].  The  Post  Boy  arrived — informed  us  that  Mr.  N.  had  passed 
Danton's*'  on  the  23rd — he  will  certainly  arrive  tomorrow. 

Oct.  26.  Prepared  a  fine  breakfast  in  expectation  of  enjoying  the 
society  of  our  friends  at  that  meal.  Th[ey]  did  not  come.  After 
Breakfast  walked  to  the  summit  of  a  mountain  overlooking  the  lake, 
about  2  miles  hence.  Just  as  I  reached  the  summit,  saw  the  Barge  on 
the  lake  at  foot  of  hill — they  were  under  sail  &  reached  the  house 
before  me.  Messrs.  Geyer  &  Montmort  looking  well.  Mr.  N.  very 
thin.  Mr.  Montmort  escaped  drowning  in  the  morning.  Mr.  N's  re- 
mark [.  .  .]  alive  to  want  of  calculation.  Are  all  men  unjust?  Much 
excited — walked  in  the  cold  wind  for  an  hour  or  so,  wh.  had  a  cool- 
ing effect.  Will  the  resolutions  formed  in  that  hour  be  adhered  to? 
Returned  to  the  house.  Maxime  not  yet  arrived — hope  he  will  come 
in  time  for  supper.^ 

AD  (CLSM).  This  fragment  of  JCF's  record  of  the  1838  expedition  is 
found  in  a  small  notebook,  the  cover  of  which  bears  the  initials  "C.  F."  and 
the  title,  in  his  hand,  "Cahier  d'Observations  Astronomique."  The  document 
contains  astronomical  data  in  JCF's  hand. 

1.  Probably  Jean  Baptiste  Gea,  who  appears  in  the  financial  vouchers  for 
Nov.  1838. 

2.  James  Wells  (d.  1863)  was  a  prominent  trader  when  Sibley  went  to 
Minnesota  in  1834  (siblev  [3]). 

3.  Probably  Augustin  Rocque,  a  trader  whose  house  was  about  three  miles 
below  Lake  Pepin — said  to  have  been  the  only  house  in  1834  between  Prairie 
du  Chien  and  the  mouth  of  the  Minnesota  River  (sibley  [3]). 

4.  Jean  Marcel  Pierre  Auguste  Verot  (1805-76),  of  the  Sulpician  order, 
taught  at  St.  Mary's  Seminary  in  Baltimore  where  Nicollet  had  stayed.  He 


became  vicar-apostolic  of  Florida  in  1858  and  bishop  of  St.  Augustine  in  1870. 

5.  Maxime  Maxwell,  listed  in  the  1838  financial  vouchers  as  a  voyageur. 

6.  Samuel  Dentan  and  Daniel  Gavin,  missionaries  from  Lausanne,  had  es- 
tablished themselves  at  the  head  of  Lake  Pepin  where  a  small  band  of  Sioux 
lived  in  what  was  commonly  known  as  Red  Wing's  village  (folwell, 

7.  Two  days  later,  agent  Taliaferro  noted  in  his  journal  that  his  steamboat 
overtook  the  Nicollet  party  of  seven  on  a  barge  below  Mt.  Trempeleau.  "We 
could  not  hail  or  have  a  word  with  them  as  I  wished"  (MnHi). 

10.  J.  J.  Abert  to  Fremont 

Bureau  of  Topogrl.  Engineers 
Washington,  Oct.  26th  1838 

A  requisition  for  three  thousand  dollars  has  been  this  day  made  in 
your  favor.  The  amount  will  be  sent  to  you  at  St.  Louis.  Respectfully, 

}.  J.  Abert  C.T.E. 
Lbk  (DNA-77,LS,  3:5). 

1 1.  J.  J.  Abert  to  Pratte,  Chouteau  and  Company 

Bureau  of  Topogrl.  Engineers 
Washington,  Novr.  12th  1838. 

Your  letter  of  the  31  Octr.  {not  found]  has  this  moment  been  re- 

I  cannot  see  what  possible  difference  it  can  make  by  whom  or 
through  whom  your  advances  on  account  of  the  expedition  under 
Mr.  Nicollet  are  paid.  In  case  of  advance  of  money,  the  advance  will 
be  refunded,  in  case  of  sales  of  goods,  the  goods  will  be  paid  for,  but 
for  the  reason  in  my  last  &  its  inclosure  Lt.  Fremont  was  made  the 
monied  agent  of  the  expedition.  All  this  was  known  (to  Mr.  Nicol- 
let) before  his  departure  and,  of  course,  before  you  had  advanced  a 
dollar.  Mr.  Nicollets  drafts  will  without  doubt  be  paid  by  Lt.  Fre- 
mont, and  to  enable  him  to  meet  these  and  other  engagements  of 


the  expedition,  a  requisition  for  S3000  to  be  placed  at  his  disposal  at 
St.  Louis  was  made  on  the  26th  of  October. 

On  many  days  previous  to  the  departure  of  Mr.  Nicollet  from  this 
place  and  for  many  after,  the  illness  of  Mr.  Poinsett  was  such,  that 
no  business  intercourse  was  had  with  him.  The  expedition  was 
therefore  organized  entirely  by  this  office,  in  a  way  presumed  to 
coincide  with  his  views,  and  in  conformity  with  the  general  custom 
in  such  cases.  But  in  my  letter  to  you  of  the  18th  you  are  informed 
that  Lt.  Fremonts  application  for  funds  would  be  immediately  com- 
plied with.  He  will  adjust  your  accounts  if  approved  by  Mr.  Nicollet. 
Mr.  Nicollet  could  of  course  approve  of  your  cash  advances  on  his 
draft,  there  could  therefore  be  no  difficulty  or  delay  in  the  adjust- 
ment. And  to  prevent  the  possibility  of  delay,  in  anticipation  of  the 
wants  of  the  expedition,  the  amount  of  $3000  as  before  stated  was 
sent  on  the  26th  of  last  month.  You  will  perceive  therefore  that  to 
meet  your  cash  advances  every  arrangement  has  already  been  made 
&  without  any  knowledge  in  this  office  of  the  assurances  of  the 
Secretary  to  which  you  refer,  those  assurances  have  been  fully  met. 

It  was  not  possible  for  the  Department  to  send  funds  to  you  in 
order  to  meet  Mr.  Nicollets  drafts  on  your  firm;  it  could  only  have 
paid  such  drafts  drawn  on  the  Department  in  your  favour.  Then  the 
draft  would  have  been  charged  to  Nicollet  and  he  would  have  had 
to  have  accounted  for  the  expenditures  of  the  amount.  Had  the 
money  have  been  sent  to  you  to  meet  Nicollet's  drafts  then  you 
would  have  been  charged  with  the  amount  on  the  book  of  the  Trea- 
sury, and  you  would  have  had  to  have  accounts  for  the  expenditure. 
Either  of  these  courses  would  have  put  Mr.  Nicollet  or  yourself  to 
great  inconvenience.  On  these  accounts  Lt.  Fremont  was  made  the 
agent,  and  as  he  was  directed  to  pay  any  account  that  Mr.  Nicollet 
should  approve  it  preserves  the  customary  form  and  kept  Mr.  Nicol- 
let at  the  head.  I  have  made  these  explanations  to  satisfy  you  that 
the  arrangement  is  proper  and  that  every  proper  result  be  relied 
upon  with  confidence. 

J.  J.  Abert  CI.  Tl.  En. 

Lbk  (DNA-77,LS,  3:10-11). 


12.  Joseph  N.  Nicollet  to  F.  R.  Hassler 

St.  Louis,  26  December  1838 
My  dear  friend, 

Mr.  Charles  Fremont,  who  will  give  you  this  letter,  is  the  lieuten- 
ant of  the  topographic  corps  who  accompanied  me  in  my  expedition 
as  first  assistant.  I  present  him  to  you  as  a  special  friend,  very  eager 
to  make  your  acquaintance,  and  very  capable  of  appreciating  your 
great  work.  He  will  give  you  all  the  details  of  my  campaign  which 
was  very  happy,  and  will  explain  to  you  the  reasons  which  keep  me 
here  another  several  weeks.  I  am  in  a  hurry  to  see  you  again  and  am 
exceedingly  vexed  at  the  forced  delay  I  face  in  getting  myself  im- 
mediately to  Washington.  It  was  impossible  to  give  you  word  of 
myself  earlier,  having  been  constantly  away  from  all  means  of  com- 
munication with  civilization.  I  had  news  of  you  through  Col.  Abert, 
when  I  arrived  at  the  place  where  mail  awaited  me.  But  nothing 
more  recent  than  the  month  of  August.  I  am  making  a  vow  that  we 
will  find  each  other  under  the  same  roof  to  spend  together  those 
moments  of  conversation  that  are  so  dear  to  me.  In  the  hope  of  see- 
ing you  again  soon,  I  abstain  from  writing  you  more  lengthily,  hav- 
ing much  to  do  to  send  off  Mr.  Fremont  to  Washington  with  all 
my  paperwork. 

Adieu,  my  dear  friend,  my  best  to  all  your  family,  and  to  you 

more  than  ever, 

J.  N.  Nicollet 

ALS,  RC  (NN— Hassler  Papers).  Addressed.  The  original  is  in  French. 
Ferdinand  Rudolph  Hassler  (1770-1843)  had  come  to  die  U.S.  from  Switzer- 
land in  1805  and  was  now  superintendent  of  the  U.S.  Coast  and  Geodetic 
Survey.  He  would  soon  be  inviting  his  good  friend  Nicollet,  and  young  JCF, 
to  make  some  nighttime  astronomical  observations  atop  his  house  in  Wash- 
ington (CAJORI;  KEVINS,  48-50). 

13.  Financial  Records,  1838 

[31  Dec.  1838] 

Editorial  note:  The  value  of  financial  records  in  historical  docu- 
mentation is  nearly  self-evident.  In  the  case  of  exploring  expeditions, 


these  records  provide  more  than  just  fiscal  information:  they  list 
equipment  and  supplies,  and  the  suppliers  dealt  with;  they  present 
a  rough  chronology  of  an  expedition ;  and  they  provide  a  usually  re- 
liable roster  of  the  personnel  and  the  period  of  employment  for  each 
man.  It  is  not  uncommon  for  the  name  of  an  engage  or  other  em- 
ployee to  appear  nowhere  but  in  the  financial  records. 

It  is  necessary,  however,  to  be  selective  in  presenting  such  records. 
The  most  useful  items  are  the  individual  vouchers  which  go  to  make 
up  the  quarterly  reports  of  the  man  charged  with  disbursing  the 
funds.  We  shall  concentrate  upon  these,  citing  other  documents 
when  they  provide  useful  information.  And  we  shall  do  a  good  deal 
of  normalizing  and  summarizing,  feeling  that  a  slavish  attempt  to 
reproduce  all  the  myriad  bits  of  documentation  in  utter  faithfulness 
to  capitalization,  spelling,  and  format  cannot  serve  any  historio- 
graphic  purpose. 

In  some  cases,  wording  has  been  simplified  or  omitted  but  the 
meaning  has  not  been  altered.  Prices  of  individual  items  are  usually 
omitted  if  they  can  easily  be  determined  by  the  total  price. 

JCF's  accounts  are  fairly  complete  in  the  National  Archives,  us- 
ually compiled  on  a  yearly  basis — each  quarter  occasionally  reported 
separately — and  with  all  the  documents  folded  in  thirds  and  tied 
with  ribbon.  Each  of  these  packets  is  a  "consolidated  file,"  contain- 
ing, besides  the  vouchers  which  represent  JCF's  disbursements,  var- 
ious summaries,  abstracts  of  disbursements,  and  a  statement  of 
account  current.  Supporting  letters  are  sometimes  present,  and  will 
be  quoted  or  given  in  full  when  they  contribute  information. 

JCF's  accounts  for  the  four  quarters  of  1838  are  in  DNA-217, 
Third  Auditor's  Reports  and  Accounts,  Account  No.  10954. 

Voucher  No.  1,  St.  Louis,  17  May  1838 
U.S.  to  Henry  Chouteau 

15  May  1838 

Bill  for  medicine  chest  19.87 

21  bbls.  biscuit  @  2.50,  keg  250  9.00 

100  lbs.  dried  beef  @  12^0,  box  250  12.75 

3|  tablettes  de  bouillon  14.00 

117  lbs.  sausages  15.00 

4  boxes  sardines  6.00,  and  10  lbs.  chocolate  7.50  13.50 

2  lbs.  arrowroot  @  .75,  box  .75  2.25 


4  lbs.  tea  4.00 

Lantern,  candles,  sugar,  tobacco,  etc.  11.50 

10  lbs.  Mocha  coffee  2.20 

8  hams,  lOli  lbs.  12.68 

1  keg  butter  7.00 

1  doz.  port  wine  12.00 

4  bottles  Cognac  brandy  4.00 

Sugar  8.50 

34  lbs.  salt  1.02 

Box  500, 3  tin  canisters  1.00,  dray  age  250  1.75 
17  May  1838 

1  box  sperm  candles,  36  lbs.  @  450,  box  250  16.45 


Rect.  17  May  by  ].  Richardson.  Certified  by  JCF.  Endorsed  by  J.  F.  A.  San- 
ford:  "I  certify  that  J.  Richardson  is  an  Employe  in  the  service  of  H.  Chou- 
teau Grocer  &  Compy.  Merchants,  St.  Louis,  Mo.,  and  as  such,  is  in  the  habit 
of  receipting  for  any  money  due  to  Chouteau.  Merchants  in  that  country 
always  give  their  clerks  this  authority."  In  an  unknown  hand:  "The  Bill  & 
receipt  for  Medicine  Chest  wanting  $19.87."  Later  endorsement  by  JCF:  "The 
man  from  whom  the  Medicine  Chest  was  purchased  could  not  be  found  on 
our  return  to  St.  Louis,  from  the  Western  Country,  &  as  it  was  actually  pur- 
chased by  me  from  Mr.  Chouteau,  I  supposed  that  his  receipt  would  be  re- 
garded as  satisfactory.  C.  Fremont."  Henri  P.  Chouteau  (1805-55),  a 
wholesale  grocer  and  commission  and  forwarding  merchant,  was  located  at  39 
N.  Front  Street,  St.  Louis,  in  1839  (j.  f.  mc  dermott  [2],  176).  John  F.  A. 
Sanford  was  associated  with  P.  Chouteau,  Jr.,  and  Company,  acting  mainly 
as  a  liaison  between  St.  Louis  and  the  East  (sunder,  6-7). 

Many  of  the  vouchers  accumulated  valuable  information  in  the  process  of 
being  receipted,  certified,  and  endorsed.  In  such  cases,  the  information  will 
be  noted.  But  many  are  routinely  receipted  at  the  place  and  on  the  date  drawn, 
by  the  person  to  whom  the  money  was  owing,  and  are  routinely  certified  by 
JCF  as  having  "been  received  by  me  and  used,  or  intended  to  be  used,  etc." 
Where  nothing  is  to  be  learned  from  the  receipting,  certification,  and  endorse- 
ment, they  are  omitted. 

Voucher  No.  2,  St.  Peters,  13  Sept.  1838 
U.S.  to  American  Fur  Company 

16  July  through  3  Aug. 

Sundry  articles  furnished  Mr.  Nicollet  at  Lac  qui  Parle,  viz.: 

Binding  and  lead  10-1^ 

1  sheep,  6.00,  9  lbs.  shot,  10  lbs.  tobacco  10.75 

45  lbs.  lead,  10  lbs.  tobacco,  20  lbs.  pemmican  10.62 

45  lbs.  sugar,  4  plates,  4  spoons,  and  4  forks  12.25 


canoe,  15.00,  30  lbs.  flour,  2.10  17.10 

1  basket  and  bag  for  mess  4.00 

soap  3.00 


Rect.  13  Sept.  1838  at  St.  Peters  by  H.  H.  Sibley,  as  agent  for  the  American 
Fur  Company. 

Voucher  No.  3,  St.  Peters,  13  Sept.  1838 
U.S.  to  American  Fur  Company 

10  Sept.  1838 

To  advances  of  sundry  necessaries  to  men  at  Lac  qui  Parle  15.20 

less:  by  amount  received  for  1  vv^ooden  canoe  12.00 


Rect.  13  Sept.  1838  by  H.  H.  Sibley  as  agent  for  the  American  Fur  Com- 
pany. Certified  by  JCF  and  endorsed  by  him:  "The  particulars  of  the  Bill  are 
of  such  a  nature  that  they  could  not  be  specified  in  detail,  such  as  a  pound  of 
beef  to  one  man,  a  few  potatoes  to  another  &  so  on  with  the  rest.  C.  Fremont." 

Voucher  No.  4,  St.  Peters,  13  Sept.  1838 
U.S.  to  Stambaugh  and  Sibley 

5  June  1838 

For  articles  furnished  Mr.  Nicollet's  expedition  at  Fort 


115  lbs.  bacon  28.75,  2  lbs.  tea  3.00,  4  lbs.  coffee  1.00  32.75 

20  lbs.  rice,  2.50,  3  bed  cords  1.50  4.00 

1  pair  shoe  brushes  50(^,  2  boxes  blacking  250  .75 

6  tin  cups  750,  1  set  knives  and  forks  4.00,  6  spoons  1.38  6.13 
\  doz.  teaspoons  500,  \  doz.  plates  6/,  1  tin  pan  750  2.00 

1  frying  pan  1.50,  1  tea  pot  1.00,  1  tea  kettle  4.50  7.00 

2  lbs.  candles  1.00,  2  bars  soap  12/,  1  tin  basin  690  3.19 
1  candlestick  620,  1  loaf  salt,  440,  1  teapot  1.00  2.06 
1  piece  tape  250,  1  fish  line  250  .50 
29  Aug. 

6  lead  pencils  900,  1^  quires  paper  750  1.65 

1  Sept. 

2|  gals,  wine  to  me  5.50 

1  bottle  port  wine  1.00  Paid  Mrs.  Campbell  for  washing  1.87        2.87 



Rect.  13  Sept.  1838  at  St.  Peters  by  H.  H.  Sibley  as  agent  for  the  American 
Fur  Company.  Certified  by  JCF.  Endorsed:  "I  certify  that  H.  H.  Sibley  whose 
name  is  affixed  to  the  within  receipt,  is  the  agent  of  the  Am.  Fur  Co.  West 
Depart,  and  that  he  is  authorized  to  receipt  for  them,  or  Stambaugh  &  Sibley. 
J.  F.  A.  Sanford."  Samuel  C.  Stambaugh  and  Sibley  were  partners  in  the 
sutlership  at  Fort  Snelling.  Stambaugh,  the  former  publisher  of  a  county 
newspaper  in  Pennsylvania,  had  been  appointed  to  the  Indian  agency  at  Green 
Bay  in  1832.  When  his  appointment  was  rejected  by  the  Senate,  President 
Andrew  Jackson  sent  him  to  Wisconsin  as  a  special  agent  (jones,  186;  mar- 
tin). Mrs.  Campbell  may  be  Marguerite  Menager  Campbell,  the  wife  of  Scott 
Campbell,  who  was  an  interpreter  at  Fort  Snelling  for  some  twenty-five  years 

(WILLIAMS  [1],  134;  HOFFMANN,  35-37,  42). 

Voucher  No.  5,  St.  Peters,  13  Sept.  1838 
U.S.  to  American  Fur  Company 

YJ  June 

For  sundries  furnished  Mr.  Nicollet  at  Traverse  des  Sioux,  viz: 

3  pieces  fancy  calico,  96f  yds.  24.00 

1  tin  kettle  14/,  1  gun  $6.00  7.75 

2  tin  pans  10/,  1  piece  ribbon  6/  2.00 
10  lbs.  powder  @  5/,  32  lbs.  lead  @  10^^  9.45 
10  lbs.  tobacco,  1^  coffee  2.25 
30  lbs.  Hour  @  6<^,  2  lbs.  sugar  @  200  2.20 
4^  lbs.  rice  @  1/;  amt.  paid  Provencalle  per  request  12.00  12.53 
8  lbs.  tobacco  @  20^,  12  lbs.  lead  @  100  2.80 
12  lbs.  salt  @  50,  1  cod  line  8/  1.60 


Rect.  13  Sept.  1838  at  St.  Peters  by  H.  H.  Sibley  as  agent  for  the  American 
Fur  Company.  Certified  by  JCF.  Auditor's  comment  on  endorsement  sheet: 
"The  Bill  &  Receipt  for  the  Amt.  paid  Provencalle  wanting,  $12.00."  Added 
comment  by  JCF:  "The  same  remarks  applicable  to  this  as  to  other  bills  of 
Am.  Fur  Compy.  Agents.  C.  F."  Louis  Provencalle  (ca.  1780-ca.  1850)  was  a 
Minnesota  trader  for  more  than  twenty-five  years.  He  was  in  charge  of  the 
post  at  Traverse  des  Sioux  when  Sibley  made  his  first  inspection  there  in 
1835  (babcock). 

Voucher  No.  6,  St.  Peters,  13  Sept.  1838 
U.S.  to  American  Fur  Company 

25  Aug.  1838 

6  lbs.  powder  4.50,  13  lbs.  lead  13/  6.13 

20  lbs  flour  1.50,  2  lbs.  tobacco  6/  2.25 

1  keg  powder,  25  lbs.  13.00,  1  bag  corn  4.00  17.00 

^  yd.  ticking  1/,  thread  60,  paid  for  bark  canoe  35.00  35.19 


i  bag  corn  2.00,  26  lbs.  bacon  6.50  8.50 

1  lb.  turtle  twine  5/,  1  lb.  candles  2/,  22  lbs.  flour  1.65  2.53 
Repairing  frying  pan  6/,  2  lbs.  Tobacco  4/  1.25 
paid  Benjamin  Dyonne  81  days  service  @  1.00  81.00 
hire  of  6  horses  &  carts  57  days  from  18  June  to  13  Aug.,  and 

of  2  horses  &  carts  63  days  from  18  June  to  19  Aug.,  in  all 

468  days  @  750  per  diem  351.00 

Paid  Joseph  Laframboise  for  a  calf  furnished  by  him  10.00 

Paid  Mrs.  Perry  for  washing  7.13 


Rect.  13  Sept.  1838  at  St.  Peters  by  H.  H.  Sibley  as  agent  for  the  American 
Fur  Company.  Certified  by  JCF.  Auditor's  note  states  bills  and  receipts  lack- 
ing for  canoe  and  for  money  to  Dyonne  and  Laframboise.  Endorsement  by 
JCF:  "These  things  were,  as  others,  purchased  of  the  Am.  Fur  Compy.  from 
whom  the  receipt  was  obtained.  C.F."  The  name  of  Benjamin  Dyomme  ap- 
pears frequently  in  the  ledgers  and  daybooks  of  the  American  Fur  Company, 
1835-45.  Joseph  Laframboise  had  been  an  American  Fur  Company  agent  at 
Lake  of  the  Two  Woods  on  the  Coteau  des  Prairies  in  1835,  but  that  post 
was  now  abandoned  and  he  was  serving  as  a  guide  to  Nicollet,  sibley  [3] 
and  WILSON  provide  information  on  his  life  and  trading  activities.  Mrs.  Perry 
is  probably  Mary  Ann  Perry  (d.  1859),  wife  of  Swiss  watchmaker  Abraham 
Perry,  who  had  come  to  Fort  Snelling  in  1827  (williams  [1],  66-67,  101). 
But  as  Sophy  Perry  collected  the  money  (Mendota  Day  Book,  23  June  1838, 
Sibley  Papers)  it  is  possible  that  "Mrs.  Perry"  is  the  daughter-in-law  of  the 
elder  Perrys,  though  we  suspect  she  is  one  of  Mary  Ann's  six  daughters  collect- 
ing the  money  for  her  mother. 

Voucher  No.  7,  St.  Peters,  [  ]  Sept.  1838 
U.S.  to  Americaji  Fur  Company 

28  May  1838 

2  barrels  flour  22.00,  1  barrel  pork  22.00  44.00 
freight  of  1300  lbs.  to  Traverse  des  Sioux  6.50 
30  May 

2  lbs  tobacco  8/,  1  bag  shot  2.75  3.75 

1  2-quire  blank  book  12/,  23  yds.  mosquito  netting  8.63  10.13 

8  yds.  cotton  20/,  thread  2/,  knife  6/,  needles  2/  3.75 

4  June 

thread  2/,  2  yds.  stroud  6.00,  8  lbs.  tobacco  1.60  7.85 

8  June 

14  lbs.  sugar  2.80,  3  pair  3-pt.  blankets  30.00  32.80 

1  pair  2fpt.  blankets  9.00,  12  bushel  corn  18.00,  6  bags  12/  28.50 

4  barrels  flour  44.00,  3  barrels  pork  66.00,  large  kettle  3.00  113.00 


6  guns  58.50,  1  crow  bar  3.00  61.50 

3  drills  &  hammer  3.00,  1  axe  3.00,  1  yd.  cotton  2/,  1  hatchet 

6/  7.00 
paid  for  making  mosquito  bar  1.50,  1  quire  ruled  cap 

paper  4/  2.00 

1  patent  gimlet  1  /6,  36  lbs.  navy  bread  3.60,  40  lbs.  flour  3.00  6.79 


Rect.  [  ]  Sept.  1838  at  St.  Peters  by  H.  H.  Sibley  as  agent  for  the  Ameri- 
can Fur  Company.  Certified  by  JCF. 

Voucher  No.  8,  St.  Peters,  [     ]  Sept.  1838 
U.S.  to  American  Fur  Company 

4  June  1838 

40  lbs.  pork  7.50,  20  flints  3/,  12  gun  worms  6/  8.63 

30  June 

1  barrel  flour  12.00,  1  barrel  pork  24.00,  57  lbs.  sugar  11.50         47.50 

2  bags  corn  240  lbs.  7.50,  2  bags  to  contain  4/  8.00 
9  July 

amount  of  Majese  Ascaud's  [Arcand's]  wages  25  days  @  1.00     25.00 

9  Aug. 

2  lbs.  soap  -^7 

25  Aug. 

Service  of  Joseph  Laframboise  as  guide  and  interpreter 

78  days  @  2.50  per  diem  195.00 

Paid  Laframboise  for  use  of  horse  for  43  days  43.00 

James  Clewett  services  as  voyageur  83  days  @  1.00  83.00 

Eusebe  Lanctot  same,  87  days  87.00 

Maxime  Maxwell  same,  81  days  81.00 

Pierre  Boucher  same,  86^  days  86.50 

Joseph  Brunelle  same,  80|  days  80.50 

Francois  Dezirie  for  services  as  cook  lQO-25 


Rect.  [  ]  Sept.  1838  at  St.  Peters  by  H.  H.  Sibley  as  agent  for  the  American 
Fur  Company.  Certified  by  JCF.  Auditor's  note  inquires  about  absence  of 
supporting  documents.  Endorsement  by  JCF:  "The  same  remarks  are  appli- 
cable to  this  as  to  other  bills  from  agent  of  American  Fur  Compy.  C.  F." 
Arcand,  Lanctot,  and  Boucher  are  not  identified,  although  their  names  appear 
frequendy  in  the  ledgers  and  daybooks  kept  at  Mendota.  Brunelle,  a  voyageur 
and  scout,  was  said  to  be  more  than  one  hundred  years  old  when  he  died  in 


1912  (letter  of  L.  J.  Carpenter,  11  Feb.  1935,  Historical  Information  File, 
MnHi).  James  Reuben  Clewett  (b.  1810),  an  Englishman,  came  to  Minnesota 
from  Canada  as  a  voyageur  and  clerk  for  the  American  Fur  Company,  work- 
ing first  at  the  post  below  Lake  Pepin  and  later  at  Lake  Traverse  (williams 
f  1],  88-89).  Fran(;ois  Dezirie  is  undoubtedly  Desire  Fronchet,  who  boasted  of 
having  been  a  soldier  under  Napoleon.  He  may  have  served  in  the  U.S.  Army 
at  Fort  Snelling,  and  in  1836  had  been  employed  by  Nicollet  during  the  ex- 
pedition to  the  headwaters  of  the  Mississippi  (nicollet,  92;  jones,  169; 
WILLIAMS  [1],  63). 

Voucher  No.  9,  Prairie  du  Chien,  26  Nov.  1838 
U.S.  to  American  Fur  Company 

19  Nov. 

3  blank  books  6/,  9  steel  pens  &  2  handles  12/  3.75 

8  skeins  twine  1/,  1  box  caps  3/,  1  lb.  shot  1/  1.50 

1  pair  blue  blankets  3^  pt.  16.00 

1  fine  pen  knife  1.50 
26  Nov. 

paid  H.  Francis  for  board  of  party  20.25 

Cash  paid  Lieut.  Fremont  500.00 


Rect.  at  Prairie  du  Chien  26  Nov.  1838  by  H.  L.  Dousman  as  agent  for  the 
American  Fur  Company.  Certified  by  JCF.  Auditor's  note  states  the  $500.00 
will  be  credited  to  account  of  JCF  for  first  quarter  1839.  Subvoucher  lack- 
ing for  amount  paid  H.  Francis.  Endorsement  by  JCF:  "This  is  a  bill  of 
Mr.  Dousman's  which  I  knew  to  be  correct,  and  paid  under  the  supposition 
that  he  was  the  only  person  with  whom  I  could  be  considered  as  dealing. 
C.  F."  Hercules  L.  Dousman  (1800-1868)  was  a  partner  of  Joseph  Rolette  at 
the  American  Fur  Company  station.  The  two  men  made  the  establishment  a 
powerful  one,  controlling  trade  over  a  wide  area  to  the  north  and  west  (sib- 
ley  [1]).  H.  Francis  is  not  identified. 

Voucher  No.  10,  St.  Louis,  3  Jan.  1839 
U.S.  to  Pratte,  Chouteau  and  Company 

For  advances  to  J.  N.  Nicollet  on  account  of 

Exploring  expedition 
24  May  1838 

Paid  for  sundry  articles  of  merchandise  for  Indian  presents  317.23 
Paid  for  tent  26.50 

1  June 
Paid  for  sundry  merchandise  as  presents  to  Renville's  family 

at  Lake  Traverse  73.86 


24  Sept. 

Paid  draft  in  favor  of  H.  Sibley  1899.33 

18  Nov. 

Paid  draft  in  favor  of  H.  L.  Dousman  1312.40 

17  Dec. 

Paid  draft  in  favor  of  H.  L.  Dousman  539.50 

Paid  postage  .50 

31  Dec. 

Paid  draft  in  favor  of  Lt.  Fremont  500.00 


Rect.  at  St.  Louis,  3  Jan.  1839,  by  Pratte,  Chouteau  and  Co.  Certified  by 
JCF.  Auditor's  note  indicates  subvouchers  lacking.  Endorsement  by  JCF:  "As 
Mr.  Chouteau  was  the  only  person  concerned  with  me  in  the  transactions 
specified  on  the  face  of  the  acct.  I  did  not  think  it  necessary  to  require  of  him 
certificates  as  to  the  amount  which  he  paid  for  the  several  articles  on  the  bill. 
C.  F." 

Voucher  No.  11,  St.  Louis,  1  Jan.  1839 
U.S.  to  John  Charles  Fremont 


Transportation  of  party,  instruments  and  baggage  under 
the  command  of  J.  N.  Nicollet  from  Prairie  du  Chien 
to  St.  Louis  300.47 

1  chronometer  guard  chain  8.00 
Repair  of  sextant                                                                            2.50 

2  thermometers  5.00 


Rect.  at  St.  Louis  1  Jan.  1839  by  JCF.  Certified  by  JCF.  Auditor  notes  that 
subvouchers  are  missing.  Endorsement  by  JCF:  "The  expenditures  for  trans- 
portation of  the  party  &c.  were  made  little  by  little  in  a  wild  country  and  to  a 
people  unacquainted  with  such  things  as  accounts.  Vouchers  in  form  for  every 
expenditure  could  only  have  been  obtained  at  the  sacrifice  of  public  interest 
by  the  delay  which  it  would  have  occasioned.  The  guard  chain,  thermometers, 
and  repair  of  sextant  were  paid  by  Mr.  Nicollet  whose  certificate  is  hereunto 
annexed.  C.  Fremont."  Endorsement  by  Nicollet  certifying  to  his  purchase  of 
the  equipment. 

Voucher  No.  12,  Washington,  1  Feb.  1839 
U.S.  to  John  Charles  Fremont 


To  services  rendered  in  the  capacity  of  assistant  engineer 


in  a  geographical  expedition  under  command  of  J.  N. 
Nicollet  from  15  April  to  31  Dec.  inclusively  at  four 
dollars  per  diem  1036.00 

To  travelling  expenses  at  10  cents  per  mile,  2520  miles, 
viz.:  from  Washington  to  St.  Louis,  thence  to  Fort  Snel- 
ling,  and  from  St.  Louis  to  Washington  252.00 


Rect.  1  Feb.  1839  at  Washington,  D.C.,  by  JCF.  Certified  by  JCF. 

Voucher  No.  13,  Prairie  du  Chien,  7  Nov.  1838 
U.S.  to  America?i  Fur  Company 

14  Sept. 

1  cod  line  8/,  1  bed  cord  5/,  1  bbl.  flour  14.00,  1  bbl.  pork 

26.00  41.63 

1  box  blacking  2/,  1  auger  6/,  1  drawing  knife  10/  2.25 

1  hand  saw  16/,  3  tin  dippers  9/,  rope  8/  4.13 

24  lbs  bacon  6.00,  difference  on  robes,  2.00,  22  lbs.  flour  1.65  9.65 
17  Sept. 

Paid  A.  Ferribault  for  horse  120.00,  9  lbs  pork  1.38  121.38 
5  Oct. 

Paid  Indian  guide,  Nez  Coupee  10.00 
20  Oct. 

Amt.  of  account  with  Stambaugh  &  Sibley  42.35 

difference  on  blankets  3.00,  corn  and  pork  5.50 

1  bushel  potatoes  4/,  looking  glass  2/,  20  lbs.  sugar  4.00  4.75 

Hire  of  horse,  3  carts,  3  harness,  36^  days  54.50 

1  mule  killed  by  Indians  or  stolen  30.50 

Paid  D.  Ferribault  for  33  days  service  as  interpreter  @  2.50  82.50 
1  bbl.  pork  30.00, 1  bushel  potatoes  4/,  5  lbs.  pork  6/,  5  lbs. 

salt  2/  31.50 

Paid  A.  Ferribault  for  33  days  hire  of  horse  @  6/  24.75 


Rect.  at  Prairie  du  Chien  7  Nov.  1838  by  H.  L.  Dousman  as  agent  for  the 
American  Fur  Company.  Certified  by  JCF.  Auditor  notes  lack  of  subvouchers  for 
several  items.  Endorsement  by  JCF:  "As  to  those  things  for- which  subvouchers 
are  required,  I  can  only  say  that  Mr.  Dousman  was  the  man  from  whom  the 
actual  purchase  was  made  and  I  cannot  see  that  it  is  requisite  that  I  should 
furnish  the  receipt  of  the  person  from  whom  he   purchased.   C.  Fremont." 


David  Faribault  (d.  ca.  1886)  was  the  young  son  of  Jean  Baptiste  Faribault. 
Like  his  father  and  his  brothers,  Alexander  and  Oliver,  he  also  became  a 

Voucher  No.  14,  Prairie  du  Chien,  7  Nov.  1838 
U.S.  to  American  Fur  Company 

9  Sept.  1838 

4  lbs.  tobacco  12/,  1  lb.  twine  5/,  2  quires  paper  8/  3.13 

4  papers  matches  8/,  2  fish  lines  2/,  10  lbs.  flour  6/,  6  lbs. 
pork  900  2.91 

13  Sept. 

soap  7/6,  1  pair  brushes  6/,  1  box  blacking  2/,  1  lb  twine  6/         2.56 

14  Sept. 

1  horse  50.00  and  double  barreled  gun  40.00,  presented  to  J. 
Renville  Jr.  for  services  as  guide  and  interpreter  and  for 

loan  of  wagons,  horses,  etc.  90.00 

32  lbs.  tobacco  8.00,  2  kettles  34/,  6  forks  18/,  6  spoons  3/  14.88 

1  sickle  12/,  6  tin  cups  6/,  2  lbs.  nails  3/,  3^  yds.  cotton  8/  3.63 

1  frying  pan  6/,  2  bags  4/,  1  axe  helve  2/  1.50 

1  bbl.  flour  13.00,  1  bbl.  mess  pork  30.00  43.00 

1  plough  line  3/,  pd.  Mrs.  Latourville  for  mending,  5.00  5.38 

1  blue  cloth  capot  6.00,  1  yd.  ribbon  130  6.13 
paid  wages  of  men  with  provisions  during  Mr.  Nicollet's 

stay  at  St.  Peters  43.00 


Rect.  at  Prairie  du  Chien  7  Nov.  1838  by  H.  L.  Dousman  as  agent  for  the 
American  Fur  Company.  Certified  by  JCF.  Auditor  questions  lack  of  sub- 
vouchers.  Endorsement  by  JCF:  "With  the  exception  of  the  sanction  of  the 
Secy,  of  War  for  the  present  to  Renville  this  acct.  is  of  the  same  nature  of  the 
others  of  Mr.  Dousman's.  C.  F."  Mrs.  Latourville  is  not  identified. 

Voucher  No.  15,  Prairie  du  Chien,  [  ]  Nov.  1838 
U.S.  to  American  Fur  Company 

3  Nov. 

2  pocket  flasks  @  4/,  3  quires  paper  3/  2.13 
paid  Joseph  Rolette  for  1  wood  canoe  20.00 
12  mackerels  @  1/,  3  lbs.  rice  @  22/,  2  loaves  bread  @  1/  2.12 

1  lb.  chocolate  3/,  2  thermometers  @  22/,  1  bottle  ink  3/  6.25 

2  steel  pens  @  1/,  3  lead  pencils  @  1/  -63 


9  Nov. 

5  steel  pens  &  handles  6/,  1  sheet  drawing  paper  1/ 

4  lead  pencils  @  1/,  1  doz.  quills  3/ 

2  cakes  soap  5/,  1  yd.  diaper  2/,  1|  yds.  gauze  6/,  1  lb.  soap 

1  scarlet  belt  4/,  4  lbs.  lead  4/,  1  plough  line  3/ 
14  sheets  envelope  paper 
Sundry  provisions  and  supplies  furnished  to  the  party 








Rect.  at  Prairie  du  Chien  [  ]  Nov.  1838  by  H.  L.  Dousman  as  agent  for 
the  American  Fur  Company.  Certified  by  JCF.  Endorsed  by  JCF:  "The  same 
remarks  are  appHcable  to  this  as  to  the  other  bill  of  Mr.  Dousman's  for 
$465.39.  C.  F."  Joseph  Rolette  (1781-1842),  a  fur  trader  and  land  speculator 
at  Prairie  du  Chien,  was  associated  with  Hercules  L.  Dousman  in  the  Ameri- 
can Fur  Company  after  1826  (dict.  wis.  bigg.).  Zebulon  Pike  met  him  (and 
archly  declined  a  gift  of  brandy,  coffee,  and  sugar)  during  his  expedition  of 

Voucher  No.  16,  Prairie  du  Chien,  [  ]  Nov.  1838 
U.S.  to  American  Fur  Company 

20  Oct. 

Paid  D.  Ferribault  for  a  blanket  6.00  and  a  double  barreled 

gun  20.00,  presented  to  Indian  guide  26.00 

[  ]  Nov. 

Paid  the  following  for  services 

George  Cournoyer  61.00 

Joseph  Brunelle  80.75 

Jean  Baptiste  Gea  70.00 

Maxime  Maxwell  73.00 

Chs.  Prevost  51.51 

Pierre  Lanoix  60.00 

Louis  Quenon  74.25 

Paid  Louis  Rock  for  services  as  guide  and  interpreter  37 

days  @  1.50,  and  for  powder,  lead,  and  potatoes,  72.75. 

Credit  1  double-barrelled  gun  45.00  27.75 


Rect.  at  Prairie  du  Chien  [  ]  Nov.  1838  by  H.  L.  Dousman  as  agent  for 
the  American  Fur  Company.  Certified  by  JCF.  Auditor's  note  questions  lack 
of  subvouchers.  Endorsement  by  JCF:  "Same  explanation  as  to  other  accts.  of 
Mr.  D's.  C.  F."  George  Cournoyer  was  listed  as  a  resident  of  St.  Paul  in  1850 
(wiLLiAMs  [1],  267).  Louis  Rock  [Rocque]  was  the  son  of  Augustin  Rocque, 
the  trader  living  below  Lake  Pepin.  Prevost,  Lanoix,  and  Quenon  not  identi- 



fied;  but  obviously  Nicollet  thought  highly  of  Lanoix  as  he  requested  that  Sib- 
ley bring  him  and  George  Cournoyer  to  Lac  qui  Pade  (Nicollet  to  Sibley,  St. 
Louis,  18  March  1839,  MnHi— Sibley  Papers).  Gea  is  referred  to  elsewhere 
as  "Baptisier." 

Voucher  No.  17  [not  present^ 

Voucher  No.  18,  St.  Louis,  6  Dec.  1838 
U.S.  to  J.  N.  Nicollet 

Bill  A  [see  below]  51.75 

Bill  B  [see  below]  46.00 

L  India  rubber,  for  canoe  coverings,  to  secure  provisions, 

instruments,  etc. 

2.  Transportation  of  instruments  and  baggage  from  Balti- 
more to  St.  Louis,  by  stages  and  steamboats  48.50 

3.  Nautical  almanac,  American  almanac  6.50 

4.  Paid  to  w^atchmaker  for  a  chronometer  box,  to  secure  a 
valuable  chronometer  that  belongs  to  U.S.  2.25 

N.B.  1  to  4,  no  receipts.  At  the  time  I  paid  out  those  articles 
I  was  ignorant  of  the  rules  to  be  observed  on  keeping  pub- 
lic accounts,  and  the  accounting  officer  of  the  expedition 
had  not  yet  joined  with  me.  187.50 

Rect.  at  St.  Louis  6  Dec.  1838  by  J.  N.  Nicollet.  Certified  by  JCF. 

Bill  A,  U.S.  to  George  Engelmann,  M.D.,  17  May  1838 
Vaccine  matter  19.00 

Camphor,  peppermint  and  other  drugs  2.25 

apparatus  for  geological  surveys   (hammers,  chisel,  punch, 

and  a  big  knife)  9.50 

paper,  8  reams,  for  preserving  plants 
boxing  up  the  same 


Bill  B,  U.S.  to  J.  &  S.  Hawken,  17  May  1838 
One  fine  American  fowling  piece,  double  barrel,  with  leather 



For  a  note  on  Dr.  George  Engelmann,  of  St.  Louis,  see  under  Doc.  No.  31. 
The  Hawken  brothers,  Jacob  (1786-1849)  and  Samuel  (b.  1792),  were  St. 
Louis  gunmakers  whose  "Hawken  rifle"  was  famous  from  the  Alleghenies 
to  the  Rockies.  It  was  the  weapon  in  common  use  by  the  American  Fur  Com- 
pany (scHARF,  1:809-10). 


Voucher  No.  19,  Baltimore,  18  April  1838 
U.S.  to  ]ames  Green 

12  April 

Repairing  barometer  12.00 

repairing  microscope  -75 

repairing  magnetic  compass,  brass  needle  1.50 

2  mountain  barometers  50.00 

2  cases  for  same  5.50 
6  pocket  thermometers  15.00 
6  dark  glasses  2.25 

3  magnifiers  2.25 


discount  2.00 


Certified  by  J.  N.  Nicollet.  Dr.  George  Engelmann  noted  that  for  forty 
years  he  had  used  instruments  made  by  James  (iree-n,  of  Baltimore  and  New 
York  (bek,  pt.  4,  p.  85).  In  1840,  Green  was  located  at  1  S.  Liberty  Street, 

1.  In  addition  to  the  vouchers  presented  above,  one  small  subvoucher  is 
present,  a  bill  from  the  steamboat  Burlington  for  freight  from  St.  Louis  to 
St.  Peters,  924  pounds  @  1.00  per  cwt,  totaling  $13.86.  Rect.  at  St.  Peters  26 
May  1838  in  a  clerk's  hand. 

The  collection  of  vouchers  assembled  here  represents  JCF's  first  encounter 
with  the  rigorous  requirements  of  the  War  Department  in  the  keeping  of 
accounts.  Not  only  was  he  new  at  the  task,  but  he  had  a  natural  aversion  to 
such  niceties  which  was  to  bring  him  into  conflict  with  bookkeepers  and 
auditors  throughout  all  his  service  for  the  government.  Given  Nicollet's  own 
naive  approach  to  such  formalities,  the  two  men  combined  must  have  put 
despair  into  the  hearts  of  the  Washington  staff.  Colonel  Abert  was  to  find 
many  an  occasion  to  justify,  to  the  auditors,  the  informality  of  JCF's  ac- 
counts. He  first  attempted  it  in  a  letter  (filed  with  these  accounts)  of  16  Dec. 
1840  to  Secretary  of  War  Joel  R.  Poinsett:  "The  U.S.  had  no  funds  for 
the  Survey,  and  this  [American  Fur]  Company  had  to  advance  and  pay  for 
everything,  which  it  did  at  the  request  of  the  War  Department.  The  high 
character  of  this  Company  for  integrity,  puts  that  point  beyond  question.  And 
in  reference  to  items  in  the  bills  of  the  Company,  in  which  they  charge  an 
amount  as  being  paid  for  an  article,  and  which  is  objected  to  for  the  want  of 
a  subvoucher,  it  appears  to  me  that  this  is  an  exactness  without  adequate  ob- 
ject. The  remark  in  the  bill,  if  it  proves  anything,  proves  that  the  Company 
had  not  the  article  for  sale,  procured  it  for  the  U.S.  and  charged  for  it  no 
more  than  it  cost  them.  .  .  .  The  Company  are  not  manufacturers.  Every- 
thing they  sell  was  bought  from  some  one,  but  articles  procured  by  them  and 
not  in  their  line  were  furnished  to  the  U.S.  without  profit.  No  subvoucher 
was  in  my  judgment,  more  necessary  in  such  cases  than  for  any  other  article." 
By  way  of  further  explanation,   Abert   wrote  to   the   Treasury   Department: 


"There  is  a  circumstance  connected  with  the  expenditures  under  Lieut.  Fre- 
mont, and  of  which  the  Comptroller  was  probably  not  aware,  which  places 
the  American  Fur  Company  so  frequently  in  the  attitude  of  an  original  pay- 
master. It  is,  that  having  no  funds  at  the  time,  appropriated  for  the  expedi- 
tion, it  was  sustained  entirely  (and  at  the  request  of  the  War  Department)  by 
the  resources  and  means  of  that  company.  In  fact,  that  company  supplied 
every  thing  and  had  to  await  an  appropriation  before  it  was  paid"  (Lbk, 
DNA-77,  LS,  4:319). 

JCF  was  still  explaining,  in  a  letter  of  26  Feb.  1841  to  the  Second  Comp- 
troller of  the  Treasury  (filed  with  the  above  financial  accounts),  why  he  did 
not  have  proper  receipts  from  the  engages  who  were  paid  by  Pierre  Chouteau, 
Jr.  "The  causes,  arising  from  the  nature  of  the  service  in  an  uncivilized  re- 
gion, which  led  to  so  loose  a  method  of  keeping  accounts,  and  my  own 
inexperience  in  such  matters,  I  have,  heretofore,  explained  in  remarks  ac- 
companying the  several  vouchers  for  my  expenditures.  .  .  ." 

14.  Fremont  to  J.  J.  Abert 

St.  Louis  1  Jany.  1839 


I  have  the  honor  to  accept  the  appointment  which  has  been  con- 
ferred upon  me  of  2d  Lieutenant  in  the  Corps  of  Topographical 
Engineers.  Respectfully  Sir  Your  Obt.  Servt., 

C.  Fremont 

ALS,  RC  (DNA-94,  5309  ACP  file  1879  John  C.  Fremont).  Endorsed; 
reed.  26  Jan.  1839. 

15.  J.  J.  Abert  to  Fremont 

Bureau  of  Topi.  Engrs. 
Washington,  Jany.  4th  1839 

I  have  received  your  letter  of  the  21st^  and  congratulate  you  on 
your  safe  return  to  St.  Louis.  This  with  one  from  Prairie  du  Chien  at 
the  termination  of  your  first  expedition,  and  the  two  brought  by  Mr. 
Montmort  are  the  only  letters  which  have  been  received  from  either 


Mr.  Nicollet  or  yourself  since  your  departure,  last  spring,  from  St. 

I  hope  you  may  not  be  so  truly  unfortunate  as  to  lose  the  Geologi- 
cal and  botanical  collection. 

If  you  should  have  occasion  to  make  a  draft  in  order  to  close  your 
accounts  with  Pratt  Chouteau  &  Co.  please  to  draw  it  on  this  Bureau. 

J.  J.  Abert.  CI.  T.  E. 

Lbk  (DNA-77,  LS,  3:40). 

1.  JCF's  21  Dec.  1838  letter,  referred  to  here  by  Abert,  was  listed  in  the 
Register  of  Letters  Received,  but  is  no  longer  present  in  the  National  Archives. 
This  is  true  also  of  his  19  Nov.  1838  letter,  written  from  Prairie  du  Chien,  in 
which  he  reported  Nicollet  was  ill. 

16.  J.  J.  Abert  to  Fremont 

Bureau  Topi.  Enginrs. 
Washington,  March  2d  1839 

You  will  repair  to  St.  Louis  as  soon  as  practicable,  &  there  join- 
ing Mr.  Nicollet,  will  aid  him  in  his  geographl.  operations. 

The  experience  which  you  have  had  with  your  accts.,  will,  I  hope, 
prevent  the  encountering  of  similar  difficulties  hereafter,  &  impress 
upon  your  mind  the  necessity  of  bills  in  detail  and  receipts.  You  can 
procure  the  materials  for  a  small  flag  and  have  it  made. 

The  Secretary  agrees  to  the  recommendation  of  Mr.  Nicollet  in 
reference  to  Mess.  Geyers  &  Flandin  &  you  are  therefore  authorized 
to  pay  them  for  the  expedition  of  the  present  year  a  compensation  of 
two  dollars  per  day  to  each  in  full  for  their  services. 

In  addition  to  the  requisition  for  $500  to  be  paid  to  you  at  this 
place,  another  for  $1500  has  been  this  day  made  in  your  favour  to  be 
sent  to  St.  Louis  &  Mess.  Pratt  Chouteau  &  Co.  will  be  written  to  & 
requested  to  credit  your  demands  to  the  amount  of  $5000. 

Whether  Mess.  Pratt  Chouteau  &  Co.  credit  to  you  will  be  liqui- 
dated by  sending  money  to  St.  Louis,  or  by  authorizing  you  to  draw 
on  the  Bureau  for  the  amt.  when  the  expedition  has  terminated  can- 


not  now  be  decided,  but  will  be  by  the  time  you  will  close  your  acct. 
with  them. 

The  compensation  to  Mr.  Nicollet  &  to  Mess.  Geyer  and  Flandin 
will  be  paid  by  you,  as  required  by  them,  as  far  as  practicable  out  of 
the  funds  sent  to  you  &  for  which  you  will  have  credit  with  Mess. 
Pratt  Chouteau  &  Co. 

The  plan  of  the  expedition  for  the  present  year,  as  indicated  in  a 
letter  from  Mr.  Nicollet  to  you,  of  the  9th  of  Jany.  (on  file  in  this 
ofhce)  is  fully  approved  by  the  Secretary.^  Respectfy, 

J.  J.  Abert.  CI.  T.  E. 

Lbk  (DNA-77,  LS,  3:98-99). 

1.  JCF  submitted  Nicollet's  plan  for  the  1839  operation  in  a  letter  to  the 
bureau,  23  Feb.  1839.  It  was  registered  as  received,  but  is  no  longer  present. 
What  Nicollet  proposed  was  to  continue  the  operation  now  being  called  "Mil- 
itary and  Geographical  Survey  of  the  Country  West  of  the  Mississippi  and 
North  of  the  Missouri."  He  and  JCF  were  preparing  to  depart  in  the  spring, 
first  ascending  the  Missouri  by  steamboat.  Since  the  vessel  was  scheduled  to 
leave  St.  Louis  in  March,  it  was  necessary  for  the  bureau  to  send  them  off  be- 
fore funds  had  been  appropriated  (see  Doc.  No.  17).  Documents  which  fol- 
low are  selected  to  outline  the  course  of  the  expedition  and  JCF's  role  in  it, 
but  Nicollet's  official  Report  is  not  presented. 

17.  J.  J.  Abert  to  Pratte,  Chouteau  and  Company 

Bureau  of  Topi.  Engineers 
Washington  March  2d  1839 

I  am  directed  by  the  Hon.  Secrety.  of  War  to  inform  you  that  he 
has  approved  of  the  expedition  to  the  West  for  the  present  year,  as 
indicated  by  Mr.  Nicollet,  &  I  am  also  authorized  to  request  you  to 
meet  the  demands  of  the  expedition  for  an  amount  of  $5000.  Lt. 
Fremont  is  the  disbursing  agent  of  the  expedition. 

In  liquidating  such  advances  &  credits  as  you  shall  give,  the  Dept. 
w^ill  either  transmit  funds  to  you  at  St.  Louis  or  authorize  Lt.  Fre- 
mont to  draw  bills  on  the  Dept.,  payable  here,  after  the  expedition 
has  terminated,  but  I  cannot  novi^  say  which  course  it  will  be  in  its 
power  to  adopt.  I  am  however  at  liberty  to  assure  you  that  it  will 
adopt  whichever  course  shall  be  found  agreeable  to  you  &  which 


shall  not  militate  against  the  necessary  regulations  of  the  Treasury 
Dept.  Respectfully, 

J.  J.  Abert,  CI.  T.  E. 

Lbk  (DNA-77,  LS,  3:98).  Once  again  it  became  necessary  for  the  govern- 
ment to  relv  upon  private  interests  to  finance  an  expedition.  Having  received 
authorization  from  the  Secretary  of  War  and  assurances  from  Congress  that 
the  necessary  appropriations  would  be  made,  Abert  was  embarrassed  by  a  sub- 
stantial oversight.  After  the  adjournment  of  Congress,  while  the  expedition 
was  under  way,  it  was  found  that  the  appropriation  for  the  survey  had  "es- 
caped attention."  In  his  annual  report  of  30  Dec.  1839,  it  was  necessary  for 
Abert  to  plead  for  the  money,  and  to  suggest  that  funds  be  provided  for  ad- 
ditional surveys.  "Our  operations  have  been  heretofore  limited  to  the  region 
north  of  the  Missouri  and  west  of  the  Mississippi  but  not  extending  west- 
wardly  to  the  Rocky  mountains.  It  is  extremely  desirable  that  means  to  fill 
up  the  hiatus  south  of  the  Missouri  and  to  extend  the  observations  to  the 
Rocky  mountains  should  now  be  granted.  It  would  really  be  questioning  the 
known  intelligence  of  the  country  were  one  to  reason  upon  the  advantages  of 
correct  geographical  knowledge,  or  of  the  national  benefit  of  obtaining  now 
in  time  of  peace,  a  knowledge  of  so  vast  a  region  bordering  upon  so  extensive 
a  line  of  our  settlements  inhabited  by  a  numerous,  warlike  and  well-armed 
race  .  .  ."  (Abert  to  Sec.  of  War,  DNA-77,  LS,  3:399-400).  Thus  the  Bureau 
of  Topographical  Engineers  began  to  maneuver  for  the  authority  which 
would  send  JCF  to  the  Rockies  in  1842. 

18.  J.  J.  Abert  to  Joseph  N.  Nicollet 

Bureau  of  Topi  Engins. 
Washington,  Mrch  4th  1839 

I  am  directed  by  the  Hon.  Secretary  of  War  to  inform  you  that 
your  plan  of  operations  for  the  ensuing  year  as  indicated  in  your  let- 
ter of  the  9th  Jany.  to  Lt.  Fremont  is  fully  approved.  Arrangements 
to  make  the  same  effectual  have  been  adopted  as  you  will  be  ap- 
prized by  a  letter  of  the  2d.  instt.  to  Lt.  Fremont  sent  open  to  you  for 
your  perusal. 

The  circulars  you  desire  to  have  from  the  commandg.  general  and 
from  the  Commissioner  of  Indian  Affairs  are  herewith  inclosed. 

J.  J.  Abert  CI.  T.  E. 

Lbk  (DNA-77,  LS,  3:100).  The  nature  of  the  circulars  Nicollet  had  asked 
for  is  not  known. 


19.  J.  J.  Abert  to  Fremont 

Bureau  of  Topi.  Engineers 
Washington,  March  5th  1839 

Before  your  departure  with  the  expedition  of  the  present  year,  you 
will  transmit  to  the  Bureau  your  accounts  &  vouchers  to  the  time  of 
your  present  expenditures,  in  order  that  the  balances  with  which  you 
stand  charged  may  be  reduced  as  much  as  possible,  and  in  order  to 
save  from  the  hazard  of  the  contemplated  expedition  the  evidences 
of  the  expenditures  which  you  have  already  made. 

In  addition  to  the  advice  given  in  my  letter  of  the  2d  instt.  in  ref- 
erence to  your  accounts  allow  me  also  to  advise  that  you  provide 
yourself  with  full  explanation  of  expenditures  of  an  unusual  kind, 
and  correct  statements  of  the  circumstances  under  which  presents 
are  made  to  Indians  that  in  all  cases  in  which  the  discretionary  au- 
thority of  the  Department  has  to  be  invoked  in  favour  of  a  voucher 
every  desirable  explanation  may  be  submitted  to  its  consideration. 

J.  J.  Abert  Cl.  T.  E. 

Lbk(DNA-77,LS,  3:101). 

20.  Fremont  to  Henry  H.  Sibley 

St.  Louis  April  4th.  1839 
My  Dear  Sir 

We  leave  this  place  today  in  the  steamboat  Antelope  for  the  Mis- 
souri River,  intending  if  possible  to  be  at  Lac  qui  Parle  by  the  end  of 
June  where  Mr.  Nicollet  requests  me  to  say,  he  shall  be  most  happy 
to  see  you. 

He  intends  proceeding  from  that  place  directly  to  Devil's  Lake. 
Our  party  will  be  composed  of  the  same  persons  as  last  year  with  the 
exception  of  Mr.  Flandin  who  came  with  us  as  far  as  St.  Louis  but 
left  us  there  having  a  fine  opportunity  of  going  to  Europe  where  he 
may  spend  some  few  years.^ 


We  have  left  in  charge  of  Messrs.  P.  Chouteau  &  Co.  a  case  di- 
rected to  you  in  which  you  will  find  two  Boxes  of  Cigars,  which  we 
send  you  to  smoke  with  your  friends,  as  I  have  heard  of  no  steam- 
boat going  up  your  way  &  suppose  you  must  be  in  want  of  Cigars — 
also  a  small  Box  directed  to  J.  Renville  at  Lac  qui  Parle.  All  the 
gentlemen  of  our  party  unite  in  tending  you  their  warmest  remem- 
brances &  hope  to  see  you  in  July  at  Renvilles.  You  must  not  fail  to 
come — previously  to  that  time  you  will  hear  from  us  again  in  which 
we  will  be  able  to  fix  a  more  definite  period.  Very  Respy.  yr.  obt. 


C.  Fremont 

ALS,  RC  (MnHi— Sibley  Papers).  Addressed  to  Sibley  at  Fort  Snelling. 

1.  If  Flandin  did  go  to  Europe,  he  had  returned  by  1843,  for  in  that  year  he 
was  in  his  father's  New  York  store  furnishing  foodstuffs  to  JCF  for  his  second 
western  expedition  (DNA-217,  T-135,  voucher  no.  2,  3  March  1843). 

21.  George  M.  Brooke  to  Fremont 

Fort  Crawford  April  4th  1839. 
My  Dear  Sir 

I  had  the  pleasure,  to  receive,  this  morning,  your  letter  of  the  19th 
Ultimo,  and  have  sent  the  things  by  the  [Lamden?]  accordingly, 
and  hope  they  may  arrive  in  time.  I  have  enclosed  the  bill  of  lading, 
in  this  letter,  as  it  is  sent  by  a  friend  of  mine,  who  will  put  it  in  the 
post  office,  as  I  do  not  know,  at  what  house  you  may  lodge.  I  am 
sorry  to  say,  that  I  did  not  succeed,  in  the  transfer  of  Lt.  [?],  and  of 
course,  that  we  have  been  deprived  of  their  society.  I  regret  to  in- 
form you,  of  the  death  of  Capt.  Lacey^  on  the  1st  Inst. 

We  have  been  well  enough,  this  winter,  no  visitors  &  very  little 

Please  make  my  best  regards  to  Mr.  Nicollet,  and  the  Gentlemen, 
with  you.  Wishing  you  all,  a  pleasant,  and  safe  tour  I  remain  very 
much  yr.  friend, 

Geo.  M.  Brooke 

ALS,  RC  (CU-B — Fremont  Papers).  Addressed,  "For  Lt.  C.  Fremont,  to  the 
care  of  Pratte  &  Chouteau,  St.  Louis"  with  the  added  notation,  "Favd.  by  Mr. 


W.  Wright."  Wright  operated  a  ferry  across  the  Wisconsin  near  Prairie  du 
Chien.  Brig.-Gen.  George  M.  Brooke,  who  was  to  sit  on  the  court-martial 
board  which  tried  JCF  in  1847-48,  was  at  this  time  commanding  Fort  Craw- 
ford, the  military  post  at  Prairie  du  Chien.  He  may  have  met  the  young  lieu- 
tenant in  1838,  when  the  Nicollet  expedition  stopped  at  his  post,  although  he 
was  absent  from  the  fort  during  the  spring  of  1838  and  again  in  November 
when  JCF  was  there  (mahan,  218-19). 

1.  Capt.  Edgar  Martin  Lacey,  5th  Infantry,  commanded  Fort  Crawford  in 
Nov.  1838  while  General  Brooke  was  absent  (mahan,  332).  He  died  2  April 
1839,  according  to  heitman. 

22.  Excerpt  from  the  Memoirs 


A  partial  equipment  for  the  expedition  to  the  northwest  prairies 
was  obtained  in  St.  Louis.  Arrangements  had  previously  been  made 
at  Lac  qui  parle,  during  the  preceding  journey,  for  a  reinforcement 
of  men  to  meet  the  party  at  an  appointed  time  on  Riviere  a  Jacques 
[James  River],  a  tributary  to  the  Missouri  River,  At  St.  Louis  five 
men  were  engaged,  four  of  them  experienced  in  prairie  and  moun- 
tain travel;  one  of  them  Etienne  Provost,  known  as  Vhomme  des 
montagnes.  The  other  man  was  Louis  Zindel,  who  had  seen  service 
as  a  non-commissioned  officer  of  Prussian  artillery,  and  was  skilled 
in  making  rockets  and  fireworks.^  We  left  St.  Louis  early  in  April, 
1839,  on  board  the  Antelope,  one  of  the  American  Fur  Company's 
steamboats,  which,  taking  its  customary  advantage  of  the  annual  rise 
in  the  Missouri  from  the  snows  of  the  Rocky  Mountains,  was  about 
starting  on  its  regular  voyage  to  the  trading-post  on  the  upper  waters 
of  the  river.^ 

For  nearly  two  months  and  a  half  we  were  struggling  against  the 
current  of  the  turbid  river,  which  in  that  season  of  high  waters  was 
so  swift  and  strong  that  sometimes  the  boat  would  for  moments 
stand  quite  still,  seeming  to  pause  to  gather  strength,  until  the  power 
of  steam  asserted  itself  and  she  would  fight  her  way  into  a  smooth 
reach.  In  places  the  river  was  so  embarrassed  with  snags  that  it  was 
difficult  to  thread  a  way  among  them  in  face  of  the  swift  current  and 
treacherous  channel,  constantly  changing.  Under  these  obstacles  we 
usually  laid  up  at  night,  making  fast  to  the  shore  at  some  convenient 
place,  where  the  crew  could  cut  a  supply  of  wood  for  the  next  day.  It 


was  a  pleasant  journey,  as  little  disturbed  as  on  the  ocean.  Once 
above  the  settlements  of  the  lower  Missouri,  there  were  no  sounds  to 
disturb  the  stillness  but  the  echoes  of  the  high-pressure  steam-pipe, 
which  travelled  far  along  and  around  the  shores,  and  the  incessant 
crumbling  away  of  the  banks  and  bars,  which  the  river  was  steadily 
undermining  and  destroying  at  one  place  to  build  up  at  another. 
The  stillness  was  an  impressive  feature,  and  the  constant  change  in 
the  character  of  the  river  shores  offered  always  new  interest  as  we 
steamed  along.  At  times  we  travelled  by  high  perpendicular  escarp- 
ments of  light  colored  rock,  a  gray  and  yellow  marl,  made  pictur- 
esque by  shrubbery  or  trees;  at  others  the  river  opened  out  into  a 
broad  delta-like  expanse,  as  if  it  were  approaching  the  sea.  At 
length,  on  the  seventieth  day  we  reached  Fort  Pierre,  the  chief  post 
of  the  American  Fur  Company.'^  This  is  on  the  right  or  western  bank 
of  the  river,  about  one  thousand  and  three  hundred  miles  from  St. 
Louis.  On  the  prairie,  a  few  miles  away,  was  a  large  village  of  Yank- 
ton Sioux.  Here  we  were  in  the  heart  of  the  Indian  country  and  near 
the  great  Buffalo  ranges.  Here  the  Indians  were  sovereign. 

This  was  to  be  our  starting-point  for  an  expedition  northward 
over  the  great  prairies,  to  the  British  line.  Some  weeks  were  spent 
in  making  the  remaining  preparations,  in  establishing  the  position 
and  writing  up  journals,  and  in  negotiations  with  the  Indians.  After 
the  usual  courtesies  had  been  exchanged  our  first  visit  to  their  vil- 
lage was  arranged.  On  our  way  we  were  met  by  thirty  of  the  prin- 
cipal chiefs,  mounted  and  advancing  in  line.  A  noble-looking  set  of 
men  showing  to  the  best  advantage,  their  fine  shoulders  and  breasts 
being  partly  uncovered.  We  were  conducted  by  them  to  the  village, 
where  we  were  received  with  great  ceremony  by  other  chiefs,  and  all 
their  people  gathered  to  meet  us.  We  were  taken  into  a  large  and 
handsome  lodge  and  given  something  to  eat,  an  observance  with- 
out which  no  Indian  welcome  is  complete.  The  village  covered  some 
acres  of  ground,  and  the  lodges  were  pitched  in  regular  lines.  These 
were  large,  of  about  twenty  skins  or  more.  The  girls  were  noticeably 
well  clothed,  wearing  finely  dressed  skins  nearly  white,  much  em- 
broidered with  beads  and  porcupine  quills  dyed  many  colors;  and 
stufifs  from  the  trading-post  completed  their  dress.  These  were  the 
best  formed  and  best  looking  Indians  of  the  plains,  having  the  free 
bearing  belonging  with  their  unrestrained  life  in  sunshine  and  open 
air.  Their  mode  of  life  had  given  them  the  uniform  and  smooth  de- 
velopment of  breast  and  limb  which  indicates  power,  without  knots 


of  exaggerated  muscle,  and  the  copper-bronze  of  their  skins,  burnt 
in  by  many  suns,  increased  the  statue-hke  effect.  The  buffalo  and 
other  game  being  near,  gave  them  abundant  food  and  means  to  ob- 
tain from  the  trading-post  what  to  them  were  luxuries. 

Having  made  the  customary  and  expected  presents  which  ratified 
the  covenants  of  good  will  and  free  passage  over  their  country,  we 
left  the  village,  escorted  half-way  by  the  chiefs. 

A  few  days  after  our  visit  to  the  village,  one  of  the  chiefs  came  to 
the  fort,  bringing  with  him  a  pretty  girl  of  about  eighteen,  hand- 
somely dressed  after  the  manner  I  have  described.  Accompanied  by 
her  and  the  interpreter,  he  came  to  the  room  opening  on  the  court 
where  we  were  employed  over  our  sketch-books  and  maps,  and 
formally  offered  her  to  Mr.  Nicollet  as  a  wife  for  him.  This  placed 
our  chief  for  a  moment  in  an  embarrassing  position.  But,  with  ready 
and  crafty  tact  he  explained  to  the  chief  that  he  already  had  one,  and 
that  the  Great  Father  would  not  permit  him  to  have  two.  At  the 
same  time  suggesting  that  the  younger  chief,  designating  me,  had 
none.  This  put  me  in  a  worse  situation.  But  being  at  bay,  I  promptly 
replied  that  I  was  going  far  away  and  not  coming  back,  and  did  not 
like  to  take  the  girl  away  from  her  people;  that  it  might  bring  bad 
luck;  but  that  I  was  greatly  pleased  with  the  offer,  and  to  show  that 
I  was  so,  would  give  the  girl  a  suitable  present.  Accordingly,  an  at- 
tractive package  of  scarlet  and  blue  cloths,  beads,  a  mirror,  and  other 
trifles  was  made  up,  and  they  left  us;  the  girl  quite  satisfied  with  her 
trousseau,  and  he  with  other  suitable  presents  made  him.  Meantime 
we  had  been  interested  by  the  composure  of  the  girl's  manner,  who 
during  the  proceedings  had  been  quietly  leaning  against  the  door- 
post, apparently  not  ill-pleased  with  the  matrimonial  conference. 

All  was  now  ready.  The  rating  of  the  chronometers  had  been  veri- 
fied. Our  observations  had  placed  Fort  Pierre  in  latitude,  44°  23'  28'', 
longitude,  100°  12'  30",  and  elevation  above  the  sea  1456  feet.  Horses, 
carts,  and  provisions  had  been  obtained  at  the  fort  and  six  men 
added  to  the  party;  Mr.  May,  of  Kentucky,  and  a  young  man  from 
Pembinah  had  joined  us.  They  were  on  their  way  to  the  British 
Colony  of  the  Red  River  of  the  North.  William  Dixon  and  Louison 
Freniere  had  been  engaged  as  interpreters  and  guides.  Both  of  these 
were  half-breeds,  well  known  as  fine  horsemen  and  famous  hunters, 
as  well  as  most  experienced  guides.  The  party  now  consisted  of  nine- 
teen persons,  thirty-three  horses,  and  ten  carts.  With  Mr.  Nicollet, 
Mr.  Geyer,  who  was  again  our  botanist,  and  myself,  was  an  officer  of 


the  French  army,  Captain  BelUgny,  who  wished  to  use  so  good  an  oc- 
casion to  see  the  Indian  country/  We  reached  the  eastern  shore  with 
all  our  equipage  in  good  order,  and  made  camp  for  the  night  at  the 
foot  of  the  river  hills  opposite  the  fort.  The  hills  leading  to  the  prai- 
rie plateau,  about  five  hundred  feet  above  the  river,  were  rough  and 
broken  into  ravines.  We  had  barely  reached  the  upland  when  the 
hunters  came  galloping  in,  and  the  shout  of  la  vac  he!  la  vachel  rang 
through  the  camp,  everyone  repeating  it,  and  everyone  excited. 

A  herd  of  buffalo  had  been  discovered,  coming  down  to  water.  In 
a  few  moments  the  buffalo  horses  were  saddled  and  the  hunters 
mounted,  each  with  a  smooth-bore,  single  or  double-barrelled  gun, 
a  handkerchief  bound  fillet-like  around  the  head,  and  all  in  the 
scantiest  clothing.  Conspicuous  among  them  were  Dixon  and  Lou- 
ison.  To  this  latter  I  then,  and  thereafter,  attached  myself. 

My  horse  was  a  good  one,  an  American,  but  grass-fed  and  prairie- 
bred.  Whether  he  had  gained  his  experience  among  the  whites  or 
Indians  I  do  not  know,  but  he  was  a  good  hunter  and  knew  about 
buffalo,  and  badger  holes  as  well,  and  when  he  did  get  his  foot  into 
one  it  was  not  his  fault. 

Now  I  was  to  see  the  buffalo.  This  was  an  event  on  which  my 
imagination  had  been  dwelling.  I  was  about  to  realize  the  tales  the 
mere  telling  of  which  was  enough  to  warm  the  taciturn  Renville 
into  enthusiastic  expression,  and  to  rouse  all  the  hunter  in  the  ex- 
citable Freniere. 

The  prairie  over  which  we  rode  was  rolling,  and  we  were  able  to 
keep  well  to  leeward  and  out  of  sight  of  the  herd.  Riding  silently  up 
a  short  slope,  we  came  directly  upon  them.  Not  a  hundred  yards  be- 
low us  was  the  great,  compact  mass  of  animals,  moving  slowly 
along,  feeding  as  they  went,  and  making  the  loud  incessant  grunt- 
ing noise  peculiar  to  them.  There  they  were. 

The  moment's  pause  that  we  made  on  the  summit  of  the  slope 
was  enough  to  put  the  herd  in  motion.  Instantly  as  we  rose  the  hill, 
they  saw  us.  There  was  a  sudden  halt,  a  confused  wavering  move- 
ment, and  then  a  headlong  rout;  the  hunters  in  their  midst.  How  I 
got  down  that  short  hillside  I  never  knew.  From  the  moment  I  saw 
the  herd  I  never  saw  the  ground  again  until  all  was  over.  I  remem- 
ber, as  the  charge  was  made,  seeing  the  bulls  in  the  rear  turn,  then 
take  a  few  bounds  forward,  and  then,  turning  for  a  last  look,  join 
the  headlong  flight. 

As  they  broke  into  the  herd  the  hunters  separated.  For  some  in- 


stants  I  saw  them  as  they  showed  through  the  clouds  of  dust,  but  I 
scarcely  noticed  them.  I  was  finding  out  what  it  was  to  be  a  prairie 
hunter.  We  were  only  some  few  miles  from  the  river,  hardly  clear  of 
the  breaks  of  the  hills,  and  in  places  the  ground  still  rough.  But  the 
only  things  visible  to  me  in  our  flying  course  were  the  buffalo  and 
the  dust,  and  there  was  tumult  in  my  breast  as  well  as  around  me. 
I  made  repeated  ineffectual  attempts  to  steady  myself  for  a  shot  at  a 
cow  after  a  hard  struggle  to  get  up  with  her;  and  each  time  barely 
escaped  a  fall.  In  such  work  a  man  must  be  able  to  forget  his  horse, 
but  my  horsemanship  was  not  yet  equal  to  such  a  proof.  At  the  out- 
set, when  the  hunters  had  searched  over  the  herd  and  singled  out 
each  his  fattest  cow,  and  made  his  dash  upon  her,  the  herd  broke 
into  bands  which  spread  over  the  plain.  I  clung  to  that  where  I 
found  myself,  unwilling  to  give  up,  until  I  found  that  neither  horse 
nor  man  could  bear  the  strain  longer.  Only  some  straggling  groups 
were  in  sight,  loping  slowly  off,  seemingly  conscious  that  the  chase 
was  over.  I  dismounted  and  reloaded,  and  sat  down  on  the  grass  for 
a  while  to  give  us  both  a  rest.  I  could  nowhere  see  any  of  my  com- 
panions, and,  except  that  it  lay  somewhere  to  the  south  of  where  I 
was,  I  had  no  idea  where  to  look  for  the  camp.  The  sun  was  getting 
low,  and  I  decided  to  ride  directly  west,  thinking  that  I  might  reach 
the  river  hills  above  the  fort  while  there  was  light  enough  for  me  to 
find  our  trail  of  the  morning.  In  this  way  I  could  not  miss  the  camp, 
but  for  the  time  being  I  was  lost. 

My  horse  was  tired  and  I  rode  slowly.  He  was  to  be  my  compan- 
ion and  reliance  in  a  long  journey,  and  I  would  not  press  him.  The 
sun  went  down,  and  there  was  no  sign  that  the  river  was  near. 
While  it  was  still  light  an  antelope  came  circling  round  me,  but  I 
would  not  fire  at  him.  His  appearance  and  strange  conduct  seemed 
uncanny  but  companionable,  and  the  echo  to  my  gun  might  not  be  a 
pleasant  one.  Long  after  dark  I  struck  upon  a  great  number  of  paths, 
deeply  worn,  and  running  along  together  in  a  broad  roadway.  They 
were  leading  directly  toward  the  river,  and  I  supposed,  to  the  fort. 
With  my  anxieties  all  relieved  I  was  walking  contentedly  along, 
when  I  suddenly  recognized  that  these  were  buffalo-trails  leading  to 
some  accustomed  great  watering-place.  The  discovery  was  some- 
thing of  a  shock,  but  I  gathered  myself  together  and  walked  on.  I 
had  been  for  some  time  leading  my  horse.  Toward  midnight  I 
reached  the  breaks  of  the  river  hills  at  a  wooded  ravine,  and  just 
then  I  saw  a  rocket  shoot  up  into  the  sky,  far  away  to  the  south. 


That  was  camp,  but  apparently  some  fifteen  miles  distant,  impossible 
for  me  to  reach  by  the  rough  way  in  the  night  around  the  ravines. 
So  I  led  my  horse  to  the  brink  of  the  ravine,  and  going  down  I 
found  water,  which,  a  plusieurs  reprises,  I  brought  up  to  him,  using 
my  straw  hat  for  a  bucket.  Taking  off  his  saddle  and  bridle,  and 
fastening  him  by  his  long  lariat  to  one  of  the  stirrups,  I  made  a  pil- 
low of  the  saddle  and  slept  soundly  until  morning.  He  did  not  dis- 
turb me  much,  giving  an  occasional  jerk  to  my  pillow,  just  enough 
to  let  me  see  that  all  was  right. 

At  the  first  streak  of  dawn  I  saddled  up.  I  had  laid  my  gun  by 
my  side  in  the  direction  where  I  had  seen  the  rocket,  and  riding 
along  that  way,  the  morning  was  not  far  advanced  when  I  saw  three 
men  riding  toward  me  at  speed.  They  did  not  slacken  their  pace 
until  they  came  directly  up  against  me,  when  the  foremost  touched 
me.  It  was  Louison  Freniere.  A  reward  had  been  promised  by  Mr. 
Nicollet  to  the  first  who  should  touch  me,  and  Louison  won  it.  And 
this  was  the  end  of  my  first  buffalo  hunt. 

The  camp  gathered  around  all  glad  to  see  me.  To  be  lost  on  the 
prairie  in  an  Indian  country  is  a  serious  accident,  involving  many 
chances,  and  no  one  was  disposed  to  treat  it  lightly.  Our  party  was 
made  up  of  men  experienced  in  prairie  and  in  mountain  travel,  ex- 
posed always  to  unforeseen  incidents. 

When  Freniere  left  the  camp  in  search  of  me  he  had  no  hesitation 
about  where  to  look.  In  the  rolling  country  over  which  the  hunt  lay 
it  would  have  been  merely  an  accident  to  find  either  camp  or  water. 
He  knew  I  would  not  venture  the  chance,  but  would  strike  directly 
for  the  river;  and  so  in  leaving  camp  he  kept  the  open  ground  along 
the  heads  of  the  ravines,  confident  that  he  would  either  find  me  or 
my  trail.  He  was  sure  I  would  remain  on  the  open  ground  at  the 
first  water  I  found.  He  knew,  too,  as  I  did  not,  that  from  the  Fort 
the  valley  of  the  river  trended  to  the  northwest,  by  this  increasing 
the  distance  I  had  to  travel;  still  farther  increased  by  a  large  bend  in 
which  the  river  sweeps  ofT  to  the  westward.  On  the  maps  in  com- 
mon use  it  was  nearly  north  and  south,  and  had  it  really  been  so  in 
fact  I  should  have  reached  the  breaks  while  it  was  still  light  enough 
for  me  to  see  the  Fort  or  recognize  our  crossing-place,  and  perhaps 
to  find  my  way  to  the  camp.  All  the  same  I  had  made  an  experience 
and  it  had  ended  well. 

The  camp  equipage  being  carried  in  carts,  and  not  packed  upon 
mules,  the  gearing  up  was  quickly  done;  but  meanwhile  I  had  time 


for  a  fine  piece  of  fat  buffalo-meat  standing  already  roasted  on  a 
stick  before  the  fire,  and  a  tin  cup  of  good  coffee.  My  horse  and  I  did 
a  fair  share  of  walking  on  this  day's  march,  and  at  every  unusually 
good  spot  of  grass  I  took  the  bit  from  his  mouth  and  let  him  have 
the  chance  to  recruit  from  the  night  before. 

We  were  now  on  the  upland  of  the  Coteau  du  Missouri,  here  1,960 
feet  above  the  sea.  Travelling  to  the  northeastward  our  camp  for  the 
night  was  made  by  a  fork  of  the  Medicine  Bow  River  [Medicine 
Creek],  the  last  running  water  our  line  would  cross  until  we  should 
reach  the  waters  of  the  Riviere  a  Jacques  on  the  eastern  slopes  of  the 
plateau.  On  the  open  plains  water  is  found  only  in  ponds;  not  al- 
ways permanent,  and  not  frequent. 

From  the  top  of  the  hill  [Medicine  Butte]  which  gives  its  name 
to  the  stream  where  we  had  encamped  the  view  was  over  great 
stretches  of  level  prairie,  fading  into  the  distant  horizon,  and  un- 
broken except  by  the  many  herds  of  buffalo  which  made  on  it  dark 
spots  that  looked  like  groves  of  timber;  here  and  there  puffs  of  dust 
rising  from  where  the  bulls  were  rolling  or  fighting.  On  these  high 
plains  the  buffalo  feed  contentedly,  and  good  buffalo  grass  usually 
marks  the  range  where  they  are  found.  The  occasional  ponds  give 
them  water,  and,  for  them,  the  rivers  are  never  far  away. 

This  was  the  Fourth  of  July.^  I  doubt  if  any  boy  in  the  country 
found  more  joy  in  his  fireworks  than  I  did  in  my  midnight  rocket 
with  its  silent  message.  Water  and  wood  to-night  were  abundant, 
and  with  plenty  in  camp  and  buffalo  all  around  we  celebrated  our 
independence  of  the  outside  world. 

Some  days  were  now  occupied  in  making  the  crossing  of  the  pla- 
teau; our  line  being  fixed  by  astronomical  positions,  and  the  level 
prairie  required  no  sketching.  I  spent  these  days  with  Freniere 
among  the  buffalo.  Sometimes  when  we  had  gotten  too  far  ahead  of 
our  caravan  it  was  an  enjoyment  to  lie  in  careless  ease  on  the  grass 
by  a  pond  and  be  refreshed  by  the  breeze  which  carried  with  it  the 
fragrance  of  the  prairie.  Edged  with  grasses  growing  into  the  clear 
water,  and  making  a  fresh  border  around  them,  these  resting-spots 
are  rather  lakelets  than  ponds. 

The  grand  simplicity  of  the  prairie  is  its  peculiar  beauty,  and  its 
occurring  events  are  peculiar  and  of  their  own  kind.  The  uniformity 
is  never  sameness,  and  in  his  exhilaration  the  voyager  feels  even  the 
occasional  field  of  red  grass  waving  in  the  breeze  pleasant  to  his  eye. 


And  whatever  the  object  may  be — whether  horseman,  or  antelope, 
or  buffalo — that  breaks  the  distant  outline  of  the  prairie,  the  sur- 
rounding circumstances  are  of  necessity  always  such  as  to  give  it  a 
special  interest.  The  horseman  may  prove  to  be  enemy  or  friend,  but 
the  always  existing  uncertainty  has  its  charm  of  excitement  in  the 
one  case,  and  the  joy  of  the  chase  in  the  other.  There  is  always  the 
suspense  of  the  interval  needed  to  verify  the  strange  object;  and, 
long  before  the  common  man  decides  anything,  the  practised  eye 
has  reached  certainty.  This  was  the  kind  of  lore  in  which  Freniere 
was  skilled,  and  with  him  my  prairie  education  was  continued 
under  a  master.  He  was  a  reckless  rider.  Never  troubling  himself 
about  impediments,  if  the  shortest  way  after  his  buffalo  led  through 
a  pond  through  it  he  plunged.  Going  after  a  band  on  one  of  these 
days  we  came  upon  a  long  stretch  of  shallow  pond  that  we  had  not 
seen,  and  which  was  thickly  sown  with  boulders  half  hidden  in  tall 
grass  and  water.  As  I  started  to  go  around  he  shouted,  "In  there — in! 
Tout  droit!  faut  pas  craindre  le  cheval."  And  in  we  went,  flounder- 
ing through,  happily  without  breaking  bones  of  ourselves  or  our 
horses.  It  was  not  the  horse  that  I  was  afraid  of;  I  did  not  like  that 
bed  of  rocks  and  water. 

Crossing  the  summit  level  of  the  plateau  we  came  in  sight  of  the 
beautiful  valley,  here  about  seventy  miles  broad,  of  the  Riviere  a 
Jacques,  its  scattered  wooded  line  stretching  as  far  as  the  eye  could 
reach.  Descending  the  slope  we  saw  in  the  distance  ahead  moving 
objects,  soon  recognized  as  horsemen;  and  before  these  could  reach 
us  a  clump  of  lodges  came  into  view.  They  proved  to  be  the  encamp- 
ment of  about  a  hundred  Indians,  to  whom  Dixon  and  Freniere 
were  known  as  traders  of  the  Fur  Company.  After  an  exchange  of 
friendly  greetings  our  camp  was  pitched  near  by.  Such  a  rare  meet- 
ing is  an  exciting  break  in  the  uneventful  Indian  life;  and  the  mak- 
ing of  presents  gave  a  lively  expression  to  the  good  feeling  with 
which  they  received  us,  and  was  followed  by  the  usual  Indian  re- 
joicing. After  a  conference  in  which  our  line  of  travel  was  indicated, 
the  chief  offered  Mr.  Nicollet  an  escort,  the  country  being  uncertain, 
but  the  offer  was  declined.  The  rendezvous  for  our  expected  rein- 
forcement was  not  far  away,  and  Indians  with  us  might  only  prove 
the  occasion  for  an  attack  in  the  event  of  meeting  an  unfriendly 
band.  They  had  plenty  of  good  buffalo-meat  and  the  squaws  had 
gathered  in  a  quantity  of  the  pommes  des  prairies,  or  prairie  turnips 


{Psoralia  esculenta),  which  is  their  chief  vegetable  food,  and  abun- 
dant on  the  prairie.  They  sHce  and  dry  this  for  ordinary  and  winter 

Travelhng  down  the  slope  of  the  coteau,  in  a  descent  of  750  feet 
we  reached  the  lake  of  "The  Scattered  Small  Wood,"  a  handsome 
but  deceptive  bit  of  water,  agreeable  to  the  eye,  but  with  an  unpleas- 
ant brackish  taste. 

About  two  years  ago  I  received  a  letter,  making  of  me  some  in- 
quiries concerning  this  beautiful  lake  country  of  the  Northwest. 
In  writing  now  of  the  region  over  which  I  had  travelled,  I  propose 
to  speak  of  it  as  I  had  seen  it,  preserving  as  far  as  possible  its  local 
coloring  of  the  time;  shutting  out  what  I  may  have  seen  or  learned 
of  the  changes  years  have  wrought.  But,  since  the  time  of  which  I 
am  writing,  I  have  not  seen  this  country.  Looking  over  it,  in  the 
solitude  where  I  left  it,  its  broad  valleys  and  great  plains  untenanted 
as  I  saw  and  describe  them,  I  think  that  the  curiosity  and  interest 
with  which  I  read  this  letter,  will  also  be  felt  by  any  who  accompany 
me  along  these  pages.  Under  this  impression,  and  because  the  writer 
of  the  letter  had  followed  our  trail  to  this  point — the  "Lake  of  the 
Scattered  Small  Wood" — I  give  it  here: 

"lowA  City,  Ia.,  February  13,  1884. 
....  "This  I  write  feeling  that  as  you  have  devoted  your  life  to 
engineering  and  scientific  pursuits,  it  will  be  at  least  a  gratification 
to  receive  a  letter  upon  such  subjects  as  are  connected  with  what  you 
have  done.  It  has  been  my  fortune  to  locate  and  construct  railway 
lines  for  the  Chicago  &  Northwestern  Railway  in  Minnesota  and 
Dakota,  in  doing  which  I  have  surveyed  not  less  than  three  thou- 
sand miles  of  line,  and  in  so  doing  have  passed  over  a  very  large  extent 
of  the  surface  of  that  region.  While  doing  this  work  I  have  been  led 
to  inquire  into  the  climate  of  that  remarkable  region.  I  visited  many 
places  which  you  in  1838  discovered  and  named.  Among  these  are 
Lakes  Benton  and  Hendricks,  the  first  about  twenty  miles  north  of 
the  famous  'Red  Pipe  Stone  Quarry,'  a  very  fine  sheet  of  water, 
along  the  south  shore  of  which  I  located  the  railroad,  and  there  has 
sprung  up  a  fine  town  called  Lake  Benton.  West  of  this,  in  Dakota, 
and  on  the  west  side  of  the  Big  Sioux  River,  is  a  lake  region,  to 
many  of  the  lakes  in  which  you  gave  names,  and  it  is  to  this  locality 
that  I  wish  to  particularly  call  your  attention.  These  lakes  bear  the 
names   of   Thompson,   Whitewood,    Preston,    Te-tonka-ha,    Abert 


(now  changed  to  Albert),  Poinsett,  and  Kampeska.  The  last  named 
is  at  the  head  of  the  Big  Sioux,  and  Poinsett  a  few  miles  to  the  south- 

"When  I  constructed  the  Dakota  Central  Railway  in  1879-80,  all 
these  lakes  excepting  Thompson,  Poinsett,  and  Kampeska,  were  dry; 
and  it  took  me  a  long  time  and  no  small  research  to  ascertain  when 
they  last  held  water.  They  had  been  known  to  be  dry  for  the  twenty- 
five  years  preceding  1879,  or  at  least  persons  who  had  lived  there  or  in 
the  vicinity  for  twenty-five  years  said  that  the  lakes  were  dry  when 
they  came  into  the  locality,  and  had,  with  numerous  smaller  ones, 
been  dry  ever  since;  and  all  who  knew  about  them  had  a  theory 
that  they  had  dried  up  long  since,  and  that  they  never  would  fill 
again ;  but  I  found  old  Frenchmen  who  had  seen  these  lakes  full  of 
water  in  1843-46,  and  I,  in  studying  over  the  matter,  found  that  you 
had  seen  and  named  them  in  1836-38  [1838-39],  and  I  would  thank 
you  very  much  if  you  will  take  the  time  and  trouble  to  describe  them 
to  me  as  you  saw  them  then. 

"I  came  very  near  locating  the  railroad  line  through  Lake  Preston, 
for  the  head  men  of  the  railroad  company  believed  that  it  had  dried 
up  for  all  time;  but  on  my  presenting  the  testimony  of  certain  reli- 
able voyageurs,  they  allowed  me  to  go  around  it.  It  was  well  that 
they  did,  for  the  winter  of  1880-81  gave  a  snow-fall  such  as  had  not 
been  seen  since  the  years  1843-44,  and  in  the  spring  of  1881  all  these 
lakes  filled  up,  bank  full,  and  have  continued  so  ever  since.  I  had  the 
pleasure  of  comparing  my  engineer's  levels  for  elevation  above  the 
sea  with  your  barometer  determination  at  Fort  Pierre  on  the  Mis- 
souri River.  Your  altitude  was  1,450  feet,  mine  was  1,437,  the  differ- 
ence 13  feet.  My  determination  is  within  the  limits  of  —  6  feet. 
The  distance  over  which  my  levels  were  taken  was  680  miles, 
and  were  well  checked.  I  also  followed  up  your  trail  as  you  marched 
from  Fort  Pierre  northeasterly  to  the  'Scattered  Small  Wood  Lake.' 
I  was  so  successful  as  to  verify  your  barometer  reading  in  several  in- 
stances by  checking  with  mine,  and  in  no  case  found  over  15  feet 
difference  between  us,  and  that  always  in  the  same  relation  as  at 
Fort  Pierre.  Hoping  that  you  will  excuse  this  long  letter,  and  that 
you  may  be  able  to  tell  me  if  those  lakes  were  dry  when  you  saw 
them,  or  otherwise,  and  add   any  other  information   you  see  fit, 

"I  am,  truly  yours, 

"C.  W.  Irish,'  C.  E.  " 


The  next  day  we  reached  the  Riviere  a  Jacques,  at  the  Talle  de 
Chenes,  a  clump  of  oaks  which  was  the  rendezvous  where  our  ex- 
pected reinforcement  was  to  meet  us.  The  river  valley  here  is  about 
seventy  miles  wide.  Observations  made  during  the  four  days  that 
we  remained  at  the  Talle  de  Chenes  place  it  in  latitude  45°  16'  34'", 
longitude  98°  7  45",  and  the  elevation  above  the  sea  1,341  feet.  At 
the  end  of  this  time,  no  one  appearing,  the  party  again  took  up  the 
line  of  march,  and,  following  the  right  bank,  on  the  evening  of  the 
14th  encamped  near  the  mouth  of  Elm  River.  This  river  and  its 
forks  are  well  timbered,  and  for  the  reason  that  they  furnish  lire- 
wood  and  shelter,  Indian  hunting  parties  make  it  their  winter  cross- 
ing-place on  the  way  westward  after  buffalo  on  the  Missouri  plateau. 

On  the  high  plains  the  winter  storms  are  dangerous.  Many  tales 
are  told  of  hunters  caught  out  in  a  poudrerie  with  no  timber  near, 
when  it  is  impossible  to  see  one's  way,  and  every  landmark  is  oblit- 
erated or  hidden  by  the  driving  snow.  At  such  times  the  hunter 
has  no  other  resource  than  to  dig  for  himself  a  hole  in  the  snow, 
leaving  only  a  breathing-place  above  his  head,  and  to  remain  in  it 
wrapped  in  his  blankets  until  the  storm  passes  over;  when,  putting 
on  the  dry  socks  and  moccasins  which  he  always  carries,  he  makes 
for  the  nearest  wood. 

The  bufifalo  herds,  when  caught  in  such  storms  and  no  timber  in 
sight,  huddle  together  in  compact  masses,  all  on  the  outside  crowd- 
ing and  fighting  to  get  to  the  inside;  and  so,  kept  warm  by  the 
struggling,  incessant  motion,  the  snow  meanwhile  being  stamped 
away  under  their  feet,  protect  themselves  from  the  fiercest  storms. 

For  several  days  we  travelled  up  the  valley  of  the  Jacques,  making 
astronomical  stations,  and  collecting  material  for  Mr.  Nicollet's 
map.  Occasionally,  to  the  same  end,  I  was  detached,  with  Dixon  or 
Freniere,  on  topographical  excursions,  which  gave  me  a  good  gen- 
eral knowledge  of  the  country  along  the  route.  At  the  Butte  aux  Os 
(Bone  Hill),  in  latitude  46°  2/37",  longitude  98°  8'  elevation  above 
the  sea  1,400  feet,  we  left  the  Riviere  a  Jacques,  or  Chaii-sansan ,  its 
valley  extending  apparently  far  in  a  course  to  west  of  north,  and  in 
a  few  miles  we  reached  the  height  of  land  which  separates  it  from 
the  Shayen  [Sheyenne]  River.  This  is  a  tributary  to  the  Red  River 
of  the  North,  and  was  formerly  the  home  of  the  Shayens,  to-day 
written  Cheyennes.  In  the  incessant  wars  between  the  various  tribes 
of  this  region  the  Shayens  were  driven  from  their  country  over  the 
Missouri  River  south  to  where  they  now  are. 


The  summit  of  the  plateau  was  only  1,460  feet  above  the  sea.  Here 
we  regained  the  great  prairie  plains,  and  here  we  saw  in  their  mag- 
nificent multitudes  the  grand  buffalo  herds  on  their  chief  range. 
They  were  moving  southwestwardly,  apparently  toward  the  plains 
of  the  upper  Missouri.  For  three  days  we  were  in  their  midst,  travel- 
ling through  them  by  day  and  surrounded  by  them  at  night.  We 
could  not  avoid  them.  Evidently  some  disturbing  cause  had  set  them 
in  motion  from  the  north.  It  was  necessary  to  hobble  some  of  our 
animals  and  picket  them  all,  and  keep  them  close  in  to  prevent  any 
of  them  from  making  off  with  the  buffalo,  when  they  would  have 
been  irretrievably  lost.  Working  through  the  herds  it  was  decided, 
in  order  to  get  more  out  of  their  way,  to  make  a  temporary  halt  for 
a  day  or  two  on  the  Tampa,  a  small  stream  flowing  into  the  Shayen. 
On  the  second  day  after,  Dixon  and  Freniere  came  in  with  three 
Indians  from  a  party  which  had  been  reconnoitring  our  camp.  They 
belonged  to  a  hunting  village  of  some  three  hundred  lodges,  who 
were  out  making  buffalo-meat  and  were  just  about  arranging  for  a 
grand  "surround."  It  would  have  been  dangerous  to  risk  breaking 
in  upon  this,  as  might  easily  happen  in  our  ignorance  of  the  locality 
and  their  plans.  To  avert  mischief  Freniere,  on  the  third  day,  rode 
over  to  the  village  with  a  message  requesting  their  chiefs  to  indicate 
the  time  and  route  for  our  march.  In  consequence  we  were  invited 
to  come  on  to  their  encampment.  Pushing  our  way  through  the 
crowds  of  buffalo,  we  were  met  in  the  afternoon  by  two  of  the  chiefs 
who  escorted  us  to  the  village  and  pointed  out  the  place  for  our 
camp.  We  found  the  encampment  made  up  of  about  three  hundred 
lodges  of  various  tribes — Yanktons,  Yankton [ais],  and  Sissitons — 
making  about  two  thousand  Indians. 

The  representations  of  our  guides  had  insured  us  a  most  friendly 
reception.  We  were  invited  to  eat  in  the  lodges  of  different  chiefs; 
the  choicest,  fattest  pieces  of  buffalo  provided  for  us,  and  in  return 
they  were  invited  to  eat  at  our  camp.  The  chiefs  sat  around  in  a 
large  circle  on  buffalo  robes  or  blankets,  each  provided  with  a  deep 
soup  plate  and  spoon  of  tin.  The  first  dish  was  a  generous  pot-au-feu, 
principally  of  fat  bufl^alo  meat  and  rice.  No  one  would  begin  until 
all  the  plates  were  filled.  When  all  was  ready  the  feast  began.  With 
the  first  mouthful  each  Indian  silently  laid  down  his  spoon,  and 
each  looked  at  the  other.  After  a  pause  of  bewilderment  the  inter- 
preter succeeded  in  having  the  situation  understood.  Mr.  Nicollet 
had  put  among  our  provisions  some  Swiss  cheese,  and  to  give  flavor 


to  the  soup  a  liberal  portion  of  this  had  been  put  into  the  kettles. 
Until  this  strange  flavor  was  accounted  for  the  Indians  thought  they 
were  being  poisoned;  but,  the  cheese  being  shown  to  them,  and  ex- 
planation made,  confidence  was  restored;  and  by  the  aid  of  several 
kettles  of  water  well  sweetened  with  molasses,  and  such  other  tempt- 
ing delicatessen  as  could  be  produced  from  our  stores,  the  dinner 
party  went  on  and  terminated  in  great  good  humor  and  general 

The  next  day  they  made  their  surround.  This  was  their  great 
summer  hunt  when  a  provision  of  meat  was  made  for  the  year,  the 
winter  hunting  being  in  smaller  parties.  The  meat  of  many  fat  cows 
was  brought  in,  and  the  low  scaffolds  on  which  it  was  laid  to  be  sun- 
dried  were  scattered  over  all  the  encampment.  No  such  occasion  as 
this  was  to  be  found  for  the  use  of  presents,  and  the  liberal  gifts  dis- 
tributed through  the  village  heightened  their  enjoyment  of  the  feast- 
ing and  dancing,  which  was  prolonged  through  the  night.  Friendly 
relations  established,  we  continued  our  journey. 

Having  laid  down  the  course  of  the  river  by  astronomical  stations, 
during  three  days'  travel;  we  crossed  to  the  left  bank  and  directed 
our  road  toward  the  Devil's  Lake,  which  was  the  ultimate  object  of 
the  expedition.  The  Indian  name  of  the  lake  is  Mini-wakan,  the  En- 
chanted Water;  converted  by  the  whites  into  Devil's  Lake. 

Our  observations  placed  the  river  where  we  left  it  in  latitude  47 
46' 29",  longitude  98°  13' 30",  and  elevation  above  the  sea  1,328  feet; 
the  level  of  the  bordering  plateaus  being  about  one  hundred  and 
sixty  feet  above  the  river. 

In  our  journey  along  this  river,  mosquitoes  had  infested  the  camp 
in  such  swarms  and  such  pertinacity  that  the  animals  would  quit 
feeding  and  come  up  to  the  fires  to  shelter  themselves  in  the  smoke. 
So  virulent  were  they  that  to  eat  in  any  quiet  was  impossible,  and  we 
found  it  necessary  to  use  the  long  green  veils,  which  to  this  end  had 
been  recommended  to  us  by  the  fur  traders.  Tied  around  our  straw 
hats  the  brims  kept  the  veils  from  our  faces,  making  a  space  within 
which  the  plates  could  be  held;  and  behind  these  screens  we  con- 
trived to  eat  without  having  the  food  uncomfortably  flavored  by 
mosquito  sauce  piquante. 

After  a  short  day's  march  of  fourteen  miles  we  made  our  first 
camp  on  this  famous  war  and  hunting  ground,  four  miles  from  the 
Mini-wa\an.  Early  in  the  day's  march  we  had  caught  sight  of  the 
woods  and  hills  bordering  the  lake,  among  them  being  conspicuous 


a  heart-shaped  hill  near  the  southern  shore.  The  next  day  after  an 
hour's  march  we  pitched  our  camp  at  the  head  of  a  deep  bay  not  far 
from  this  hill.  To  this  the  Indians  have  given  the  name  of  the 
"Heart  of  the  Enchanted  Water','  by  the  v^^hites  translated  "Heart  of 
the  Devil's  Lake." 

At  a  wooden  lake  of  fresh  water  near  last  night's  camp  on  the 
plateau  we  had  found  traces  of  a  large  encampment  which  had  been 
recently  abandoned.  The  much-trodden  ground  and  trails  all  round 
showed  that  a  large  party  had  been  here  for  several  weeks.  From 
many  cart-wheel  tracks  and  other  signs  our  guides  recognized  it  as 
a  hunting  camp  of  the  Metis,  or  Bois-Brules,  of  the  Red  River  of  the 
North;  and  the  deep  ruts  cut  by  the  wheels  showed  that  the  carts 
had  received  their  full  load,  and  that  the  great  hunt  of  the  year  was 
over.  It  was  this  continuous  and  widespread  hunt  that  had  put  in 
motion  the  great  herds  through  which  we  had  passed. 

Among  other  interesting  features  of  the  northwest  we  had  heard 
much  from  our  guides  about  these  people  and  their  buffalo  hunts; 
and  to  have  just  missed  them  by  a  few  days  only  was  quite  a  dis- 

The  home  of  the  Half-breeds  is  at  Pembina  in  British  North 
America.  They  are  called  indifferently  Metis  or  Half-breeds,  Bois- 
Brules,  and  Gens  litres  or  Free  People  of  the  North.  The  Half- 
breeds  themselves  are  in  greater  part  the  descendants  of  French 
Canadian  traders  and  others  who,  in  the  service  of  the  Fur  Com- 
pany, and  principally  of  the  Northwest  Company  of  Montreal,  had 
been  stationed  at  their  remote  forts,  or  scattered  over  the  northwest 
Indian  country  in  gathering  furs.  These  usually  took  local  wives 
from  among  the  Indian  women  of  the  different  tribes,  and  their 
half  Indian  children  grew  up  to  a  natural  life  of  hunting  and  kin- 
dred pursuits,  in  which  their  instincts  gave  them  unusual  skill. 

The  Canadian  engages  of  the  company  who  had  remained  in  the 
country  after  their  term  of  service  had  expired  were  called  Free 
Canadians;  and,  from  their  association  with  the  Half-breeds  came 
also  the  name  of  Gens  litres.  They  were  prominently  concerned  in  a 
singular  event  which  occurred  in  British  America  about  a  quarter  of 
a  century  before  the  time  of  which  I  am  writing.  In  the  rivalry  be- 
tween the  Hudson's  Bay  Company  and  the  Northwest  Fur  and 
Trading  Company  of  Montreal,  the  Half-breeds  were  used  by  the 
Northwest  Company  in  their  successful  attempts  to  destroy  a  Scotch 
colony  which  had  been  planted  by  the  Earl  of  Selkirk^  on  the  Red 


River  of  the  North  at  its  confluence  with  the  Assiniboine,  about 
forty  miles  above  Lake  Winnipeg.  The  colony  was  founded  upon  a 
grant  of  land  made  to  the  Earl  by  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company  in 
1811;  and  about  a  hundred  immigrants  were  settled  at  the  Forks  in 
1812,  reaching  to  some  two  hundred  in  1814.  This  was  called  the 
Kildonan  settlement,  from  a  parish  in  the  County  of  Sutherland 
which  had  been  the  home  of  the  immigrants.  In  August  of  1815  it  was 
entirely  broken  up  by  the  Northwest  Company,  and  the  settlers 
driven  away  and  dispersed.  During  the  following  winter  and  spring 
the  colony  was  re-established,  and  in  prosperous  condition  when  it  was 
attacked  by  a  force  of  Half-breeds,  under  officers  of  the  Northwest 
Company,  and  some  twenty  unresisting  persons  killed;  includ- 
ing Mr.  [Robert]  Semple,  the  Governor  of  the  Hudson's  Bay  Com- 
pany and  five  of  his  officers.  In  the  course  of  this  contest  there  were 
acts  of  a  savage  brutality,  not  repugnant,  perhaps,  to  the  usages  of 
the  Indian  country  where  they  were  perpetrated,  but  unknown 
among  civilized  men.  The  opposition  made  to  the  colony  by  the 
Northwest  Company  was  for  the  declared  reason  that  "Colonization 
was  unfavorable  to  the  Fur  Trade:"  their  policy  was  to  hold  the 
great  part  of  a  continent  as  a  game  preserve  for  the  benefit  solely  of 
their  trade. 

The  colony  was  revived  when  the  Northwest  was  merged  in  the 
Hudson's  Bay  Company,  and  reoccupied  its  old  site  at  the  Forks  of 
Red  River;  the  settlements  extending  gradually  southward  along 
the  banks  of  the  river.  The  grants  of  land  which  had  been  made  to 
the  colonists  by  the  Earl  of  Selkirk  held  good  under  the  general 
grant  made  to  him  by  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company  in  1811,  and  have 
been  so  maintained. 

Meantime  the  Half-breeds  had  been  increasing  in  number;  and, 
as  the  buffalo  have  receded  before  the  settlements  in  British  America, 
they  made  their  hunting  expeditions  to  the  plains  around  the  Devil's 
Lake.  With  them,  the  two  important  events  of  the  year  are  the 
buffalo  hunts  which  they  come  to  these  plains  to  make.  They  bring 
with  them  carts  built  to  carry  each  the  meat  of  ten  buffalo,  which 
they  make  into  pemmican.  This  consists  of  the  meat  dried  by  fire  or 
sun,  coarsely  pounded  and  mixed  with  melted  fat,  and  packed  into 
skin  sacks.  It  is  of  two  qualities;  the  ordinary  pemmican  of  com- 
merce, being  the  meat  without  selection,  and  the  finer,  in  small 
sacks,  consisting  of  the  choicest  parts  kneaded  up  with  the  marrow. 


Buffalo  tongues,  pemmican,  and  robes,  constitute  chiefly  their  trade 
and  support. 

When  making  their  hunts  the  party  is  usually  divided;  one-half 
to  hunt,  the  other  to  guard  the  camp.  Years  ago  they  were  much 
harassed  by  the  Indians  of  the  various  tribes  who  frequented  these 
buffalo  grounds  as  much  to  fight  as  to  hunt.  But  as  a  result  of  these 
conflicts  with  the  Half-breeds  the  Indians  were  always  obliged  to  go 
into  mourning;  and  gradually  they  had  learned  to  fight  shy  of  these 
people  and  of  late  years  had  ceased  to  molest  them.  They  are  good 
shots  and  good  riders,  and  have  a  prairie-wide  reputation  for  skill 
in  hunting  and  bravery  in  fighting. 

We  remained  on  the  Devil's  Lake  over  a  week,  during  which 
three  stations  were  made  along  the  southern  shore,  giving  for  the 
most  northern  latitude  47°  59^  29",  and  for  longitude  98°  28'.  Our  ba- 
rometer gave  for  the  top  of  the  "Enchanted  Hill"  1,766  feet  above 
the  sea,  for  the  plateau  1,486  feet,  and  for  the  lake  1,476  feet.  It  is  a 
beautiful  sheet  of  water,  the  shores  being  broken  into  pleasing  ir- 
regularity by  promontories  and  many  islands.  As  in  some  other 
lakes  on  the  plateau,  the  water  is  brackish,  but  there  are  fish  in  it; 
and  it  is  doubtless  much  freshened  by  the  rains  and  melting  snows  of 
the  spring.  No  outlet  was  found,  but  at  the  southern  end  there  are  low 
grounds  by  which  at  the  season  of  high  waters  the  lake  may  discharge 
into  the  Shayen  River.  This  would  put  it  among  the  sources  of  the  Red 
River.  The  most  extended  view  of  its  waters  obtainable  from  any 
of  the  surrounding  hills  seemed  to  reach  about  forty  miles  in  a 
northwesterly  direction.  Accompanied  by  Dixon  or  Freniere,  I  was 
sent  off  on  several  detached  excursions  to  make  out  what  I  could  of 
the  shape  and  size  of  the  lake.  On  one  of  these  I  went  for  a  day's 
journey  along  the  western  shore,  but  was  unable  in  the  limited  time 
to  carry  my  work  to  the  northern  end.  Toward  nightfall  we  found 
near  the  shore  good  water  and  made  there  our  camp  in  open 
ground.  Nothing  disturbed  our  rest  for  several  hours,  when  we 
were  roused  by  a  confused  heavy  trampling  and  the  usual  grunting 
sounds  which  announced  buffalo.  We  had  barely  time  to  get  our 
animals  close  in  and  to  throw  on  dry  wood  and  stir  up  the  fire  be- 
fore the  herd  was  upon  us.  They  were  coming  to  the  lake  for  water, 
and  the  near  ones  being  crowded  forward  by  those  in  the  rear  and 
disregarding  us,  they  were  nigh  going  directly  over  us.  By  shouting 
and  firing  our  pieces,  we  succeeded  in  getting  them  to  make  a  little 


space,  in  which  they  kept  us  as  they  crowded  down  into  the  lake. 
The  brackish,  salty  water,  is  what  these  animals  like,  and  to  turn  the 
course  of  such  a  herd  from  water  at  night  would  be  impossible. 

Unwieldy  as  he  looks,  the  buffalo  bull  moves  with  a  suddenness 
and  alertness  that  make  him  at  close  quarters  a  dangerous  antago- 
nist. Freniere  and  I  being  together  one  day,  we  discovered  a  bull 
standing  in  the  water  of  a  little  lake  near  the  shore,  and  we  rode  up 
to  see  what  he  was  doing  there  alone.  "He  may  be  sick,"  said 
Freniere.  As  we  approached  we  noticed  that  he  was  watching  us 
inquiringly,  his  head  high  up,  with  intention,  as  a  bull  in  an  arena. 
As  we  got  abreast  of  him  within  a  few  yards,  he  made  two  or 
three  quick  steps  toward  us  and  paused.  "Ohol  bonjour  camarade," 
Freniere  called  out,  and  moved  his  horse  a  little  away.  My  attention 
for  an  instant  was  diverted  to  my  riata,  which  was  trailing,  when  the 
bull  made  a  dash  at  us.  I  made  an  effort  to  get  out  of  his  range,  but 
my  horse  appeared  to  think  that  it  was  in  the  order  of  proceeding 
for  me  first  to  fire.  A  rough  graze  to  his  hind  quarters  which  stag- 
gered him  made  him  see  that  the  bull  had  decided  to  take  this  par- 
ticular affair  into  his  own  hands,  or  horns,  and  under  the  forcible 
impression  he  covered  a  rod  or  two  of  ground  with  surprising  celer- 
ity; the  bull  meanwhile  continuing  his  course  across  the  prairie 
without  even  turning  his  head  to  look  at  us.  Concluding  that  it  was 
not  desirable  to  follow  up  our  brief  acquaintance,  we  too  continued 
our  way.  A  good  hunter  does  not  kill  merely  for  the  sake  of  killing. 

The  outward  line  of  the  expedition  being  closed,  our  route  was 
now  turned  eastward  across  the  plateau  toward  the  valley  of  the  Red 
River  of  the  North.  The  first  night  was  passed  at  a  small  fresh-water 
lake  near  the  Lake  of  the  Serpents,  which  is  salt;  and  on  August  7th 
we  encamped  again  on  the  Shayen-oju.  Continuing  east,  we  crossed 
next  day  the  height  of  land  at  an  elevation  of  1,500  feet  above  sea 
level,  and  a  few  miles  farther  came  in  view  of  the  wide-spread  valley 
of  the  Red  River,  its  greea  wooded  line  extending  far  away  to  the 
north  on  its  way  to  British  America.  From  this  point,  travelling 
southerly,  a  week  was  spent  in  sketching  and  determining  positions 
among  the  head-waters  of  its  tributaries;  and  on  August  14th  we 
descended  again  to  the  valley  of  the  Shayen  and  recrossed  that  river 
at  an  elevation  of  1,228  feet  above  the  sea,  its  course  not  many 
miles  below  curving  northeast  to  the  Red  River.  Two  days  later  we 
reached  the  Lake  of  the  Four  Hills,  about  a  hundred  feet  above  the 
river.  This  lake  is  near  the  foot  of  the  ascent  to  the  Reipahan,  or 


Head  of  the  Coteau  des  Prairies.  We  ascended  the  slope  to  the  high- 
est point  at  the  head  of  the  Coteau,  where  the  elevation  was  2,000 
feet  above  the  sea  and  the  width  of  the  Coteau  about  twenty  miles. 
In  its  extension  to  the  south  it  reaches,  in  about  a  hundred  and  fifty 
miles,  a  breadth  of  forty  miles;  sloping  abruptly  on  the  west  to  the 
great  plains  of  the  Riviere  a  Jacques,  and  on  the  east  to  the  prairies 
of  the  Mini-sotah  River.  Here  we  spent  several  days  in  the  basin  of 
the  beautiful  lakes  which  make  the  head-waters  of  the  Mini-sotah  of 
the  Mississippi  River,  and  the  Tchankasndata  or  Sioux  River  of  the 
Missouri.  The  two  groups  of  lakes  are  near  together,  occupying  ap- 
parently the  same  basin,  with  a  slight  rise  between;  the  Mini-sotah 
group  being  the  northern.  They  lie  in  a  depression  or  basin,  from 
150  to  300  feet  below  the  rim  of  the  Coteau,  full  of  clear  living  water, 
often  partially  wooded;  and,  having  sometimes  a  sandy  beach  or 
shore  strewed  with  boulders,  they  are  singularly  charming  natural 
features.  These  were  pleasant  camping-grounds — wood  was  abun- 
dant, the  water  was  good,  and  there  were  fish  in  the  lakes. 

From  the  lake  region  we  descended  800  or  900  feet  to  the  lower 
prairies,  and  took  up  our  march  for  the  residence  of  our  friends  the 

Some  well  employed  time  was  devoted  here  to  make  examinations 
of  the  Big  Stone  and  other  lakes,  and  to  making  observations  and 
collecting  materials  to  render  Mr.  Nicollet's  projected  map  of  this 
region  as  nearly  complete  as  practicable.  In  all  these  excursions  we 
had  the  effective  aid  of  the  Renvilles,  whose  familiar  knowledge  of 
the  country  enabled  us  to  economize  both  labor  and  time. 

The  autumn  was  far  advanced  when  we  took  our  leave  of  this 
post.  That  year  the  prairie  flowers  had  been  exceptional  in  lux- 
uriance and  beauty.  The  rich  lowlands  near  the  house  were  radiant 
with  asters  and  golden-rod,  and  memory  chanced  to  associate  these 
flowers,  as  the  last  thing  seen,  with  the  place.  Since  then  I  have  not 
been  in  that  country  or  seen  the  Renvilles;  but  still  I  never  see  the 
golden-rod  and  purple  asters  in  handsome  bloom,  without  thinking 
of  that  hospitable  refuge  on  the  far  northern  prairies. 

Some  additional  examinations  on  the  water-shed  of  the  Mini-sotah 
and  along  the  Mississippi  closed  the  labors  of  these  expeditions;  and 
at  nightfall  early  in  November  I  landed  at  Prairie  du  Chien  in  a 
bark  canoe,  with  a  detachment  of  our  party.^  A  steamboat  at  the 
landing  was  firing  up  and  just  about  starting  for  St.  Louis,  but  we 
thought  it  would  be  pleasant  to  rest  a  day  or  two  and  enjoy  comfort- 


able  quarters  while  waiting  for  the  next  boat.  But  the  next  boat 
was  in  the  spring,  for  next  morning  it  was  snowing  hard,  and  the 
river  was  frozen  from  bank  to  bank.  I  had  time  enough  while  there 
to  learn  two  things:  one,  how  to  skate;  the  other,  the  value  of  a  day. 
After  some  weeks  of  wagon  journey  through  Illinois,  in  a  severe 
winter,  we  reached  St.  Louis;  when,  after  the  party  had  been  cared 
for,  I  went  on  to  Washington  to  assist  Mr.  Nicollet  in  working  up 
the  material  collected  in  the  expeditions. 

MEMOIRS,  38-54. 

1.  Etienne  Provost  (ca.  1782-1850),  one  of  the  best  known  of  the  mountain 
men  of  his  time.  His  name  is  spelled  many  ways  (as  in  Provo,  Utah),  and  as 
he  did  not  write,  we  do  not  know  his  preference.  He  was  with  the  Chouteau- 
DeMun  trading  venture  to  the  Rockies  in  1815-17,  exploiting  the  fur  re- 
sources of  the  Platte  and  upper  Arkansas  rivers.  A  few  years  later  he  had 
moved  to  the  Great  Basin,  and  he  has  been  credited  with  the  discovery  of 
Great  Salt  Lake — though  men  from  the  Hudson's  Bay  Company  may  have 
preceded  him.  He  had  contacts  with  William  H.  Ashley  but  was  never  associ- 
ated with  him  as  a  partner,  and  was  employed  by  the  American  Fur  Company 
for  a  number  of  years.  He  ascended  the  Missouri  with  John  James  Audubon 
in  1843.  For  biographies,  see  anderson,  343-51,  and  l.  hafen  [3],  6:371-85. 
Louis  Zindel  was  a  new  immigrant  when  he  signed  on  with  Nicollet.  Upon 
returning  to  St.  Louis  he  opened  a  grocery  store  at  128  Market  Street,  but 
joined  JCF  again  in  1843  for  his  expedition  to  California  and  Oregon.  He 
made  tents  for  the  expedition  of  1845  but  did  not  join  it,  and  later  moved  to 
Keokuk,  Iowa,  to  continue  in  the  grocery  trade.  From  an  examination  of  the 
vouchers,  it  seems  probable  that  the  other  three  men  who  signed  on  at  St. 
Louis  were  Joseph  Fournaise,  Francois  Latulippe,  and  Joseph  Chartran. 

2.  The  Antelope  was  making  her  second  voyage  up  the  Missouri,  having 
gone  as  far  as  Fort  Union  the  previous  year.  But  she  drew  too  much  water 
for  the  shallow  reaches  of  the  upper  river,  and  on  this  trip  she  would  fall  400 
miles  short  of  her  destination— Fort  Union  again  (sunder,  21).  Besides  the 
Nicollet  party,  she  carried  fur  company  officials  John  F.  A.  Sanford,  William 
Laidlaw,  and  James  Kipp.  The  famed  missionary,  Father  Pierre-Jean  de 
Smet,  would  board  at  Council  Bluffs  to  ride  as  far  as  the  Vermillion  River 
(NICOLLET,  41-42).  A  second  vessel,  the  Pirate,  which  started  up  river  ahead 
of  the  Antelope  carrying  supplies  for  the  Nicollet  party,  struck  a  snag  and 
sank  a  few  miles  below  Council  Bluffs.  A  chart  of  the  river  prepared  by 
Nicollet  and  JCF,  now  in  the  Nicollet  Papers,  DLC,  indicates  the  location  of 
the  wreck. 

3.  At  the  present  site  of  Pierre,  S.D.  While  there  is  no  journal  of  the  voyage 
to  this  point,  the  large-scale  charts  of  the  river  give  a  good  account  of  the  trip, 
as  they  show  dates  and  places  of  encampment. 

4.  The  men  mentioned  by  JCF  include  William  F.  P.  May  (ca.  1797-1855), 
an  independent  fur  trader  for  more  than  thirty  years  on  the  upper  Missouri, 
the  Platte,  and  apparently  in  the  Santa  Fe  trade  ( Christopher  &  hafen). 
William  Dickson,  a  son  of  fur  trader  Robert  Dickson,  served  as  an  Indian 
interpreter  among  the  Sioux  at  times,  and  in  1835  was  in  charge  of  an  Ameri- 
can Fur  Company  post  near  the  James  River.  JCF  notes  its  location  on  the 


charts  of  the  river  in  the  DNA.  Louison  Freniere  had  been  hired  10  July 
1838  by  P.  D.  Papin  as  a  clerk  and  interpreter.  He  was  a  Sioux  half-breed, 
later  to  serve  as  interpreter  for  the  upper  Missouri  agency.  It  is  doubtful 
that  Captain  Belligny  was  on  this  expedition  (see  Doc.  No.  5,  note  2). 

5.  Near  Blunt,  in  Hughes  County,  S.D.  The  expedition  will  now  strike  off 
to  the  northeast,  passing  south  of  the  Scatterwood  Lakes  in  Faulk  County, 
and  reaching  the  James  River  10  July.  By  14  July  they  will  reach  Sand  Lake 
in  Brown  County,  cross  into  present  North  Dakota  on  16  July,  and  two  days 
later  leave  the  James  and  strike  out  northeast  toward  the  Sheyenne  River. 
Then  they  will  proceed  northward,  first  along  the  Sheyenne  and  then  over- 
land (passing  a  lake  which  they  will  name  Lake  Jessie  when  they  eventually 
make  their  map)  and  arriving  in  the  Devils  Lake  area  of  North  Dakota  on 
27  July.  From  here  the  party  will  head  south  again,  following  along  the 
eastern  side  of  the  Coteau,  to  the  headwaters  of  the  Minnesota.  The  Nicollet 
map  does  not  show  dates  or  routes  from  this  point,  but  JCF  says  the  party 
visited  again  with  the  Renvilles  at  Lac  qui  Parle,  investigating  lakes  in  the 
area,  and  that  the  autumn  was  well  advanced  when  they  started  down  the  Min- 
nesota for  Fort  Snelling.  For  detailed  comment  on  the  route  in  the  Dakotas, 

see  STEVENS. 

6.  Charles  W.  Irish  (1834-1904),  pioneer  setder  in  Iowa  City,  not  only 
surveyed  and  supervised  the  construction  of  many  railroad  lines,  but  also 
served  under  President  Grover  Cleveland  as  chief  of  the  Bureau  of  Irrigation. 
He  later  became  deputy  mining  surveyor  of  Nevada  (see  obituary  notice, 
Annals  of  Iowa,  ser.  3,  6  [1903-5]  :639). 

7.  Thomas  Douglas,  fifth  Earl  of  Selkirk  (1771-1820). 

8.  Nicollet  had  reached  Prairie  du  Chien  before  14  Oct.  and  was  expecting  to 
descend  the  Mississippi  with  JCF,  who  would  arrive  in  two  or  three  days  (Nicol- 
let to  P.  Chouteau,  Jr.,  and  Co.,  14  Oct.  1839,  MoSHi).  The  coming  of  winter, 
however,  seems  to  have  forced  him  to  proceed  to  St.  Louis  without  Fremont  as  he 
feared  ice  would  close  the  river  as  it  had  in  Nov.  1838  (see  letters  of  Nicollet 
to  Sibley,  Washington,  26  April  1840,  and  Hercules  L.  Dousman  to  Sibley,  20 
Nov.  1838,  MnHi— Sibley  Papers). 

23.  Financial  Records,  1839 

[31  Dec.  1839] 

Quarter  Ending  31  March  1839 

Voucher  No.  1,  Baltimore,  9  Feb.  1839 
U.S.  to  Brantz  Mayer 

1  Troughton's  reflecting  circle  and  stand  150.00 

Brantz  Mayer   (1809-79),   a   Baltimore  lawyer,  historian,  and   one   of  the 
founders  of  the  Maryland  Historical  Society. 


Voucher  No.  2,  New 


27  Feb.  1839 

U.S.  to  A. 



20  lbs  Dresden  chocolate 


1  boxes  sardines 


1  Stilton  cheese 


2  boxes  Andoulettes 


3  lbs  Bermuda  arrowroot 


8  bottles  superior  old  port 
4  bottles  brandy 
2  bottles  raspberry  brandy 
2  bottles  fleur  d'orange 



In  1846-47,  A.  Bininger  &  Co.  was  a  firm  of  grocers  at  141  Broadway,  New 

Voucher  No.  3,  New  Yor\,  27  Feb.  1839 
U.S.  to  E.  &  G.  W.  Blunt 

1  chronometer  balance  watch  by  Amdd  [.'^]  &  Dent,  No. 
4632  220.00 

Edmund  and  George  W.  Blunt  specialized  in  books  and  charts,  and  handled 
all  nautical  instruments  of  American  manufacture.  In  1846-47,  the  firm  was 
located  at  179  Water  Street,  New  York, 

Voucher  No.  4  {U.S.  to  E.  &■  G.  W.  Blunt)  [not  present^ 

Voucher  No.  5,  New  Yor\,  27  Feb.  1839 
U.S.  to  E.  &  G.  W.  Blunt 

1  camera  lucida  18.00 

Voucher  No.  6,  New  YorJ^,  27  Feb.  1839 
U.S.  to  E.  &  G.  W.  Blunt 

1  English  nautical  almanac  for  1839  2.50 

1  American  nautical  almanac  for  1839  1.50 

1  English  nautical  almanac  for  1840  2.50 



Voucher  No.  7,  New  York,  27  Feb.  1839 
U.S.  to  E.  dr  G.  W.  Blunt 

1  variation  chart  3.00 

Voucher  No.  8,  Baltimore,  4  March  1839 
U.S.  to  James  Green 

8  pocket  thermometers  16.00 

2  of  the  same  5.00 

1  compass  in  gimbals  5.00 

5  lbs.  quicksilver  8.75 


Voucher  No.  9,  {Baltimore^,  4  March  1839 
U.S.  to  Edward  ]en}{ins  and  Sons 

20  yards  gum  elastic  cloth  25.00 

In  1839,  the  Baltimore  firm  of  Edward  Jenkins  and  Sons,  "importers  of 
saddlery,"  was  at  147  and  148  Baltimore  Street.  Some  sixty  years  later  the  firm 
was  still  in  business,  located  at  21  Hanover. 

Voucher  No.  10,  Baltimore,  4  March  1839 
U.S.  to  Fielding  Lucas,  Jr. 

2  airtight  ink  stands  2.00 

1  doz.  Cohen's  pencils  1.25 

I  ea.  3H  and  4H  Jackson's  pens  2.62^ 
9  pieces  India  rubber  .37^ 

1  bunch  quills  1.00 

4  2-quire  cap  quartos  1.50 

1  3-quire  cap  No.  1  paper  1.50 
1  quire  super  quarto  port  [folio]  .37^ 

1  each  2-  and  3-quire  demi  quarto  3.00 

2  small  blank  books  .75 
logarithm  tables,  Callet  5.00 


Fielding  Lucas,  Jr.  (1781-1854),  a  publisher  of  fine  books  and  maps,  sup- 
plier of  "every  article  used  in  books,  newspaper,  and  job  offices,"  had  earlier 
been  a  partner  in  the  Baltimore  firm  of  Conrad,  Lucas,  and  Co.,  book  pub- 
lishers. See  FOSTER. 


Voucher  No.  11,  Baltimore,  5  March  1839 
U.S.  to  Stockton,  Falls  &  Co. 

Freight  of  instruments  and  stores  from  Baltimore  to  Wheeling    13.00 

In  1842,  the  general  stage  offices  of  Stockton  and  Falls  and  Co.  were  at  the 
Baltimore  &  Ohio  depot  on  Pratt  Street. 

Voucher  No.  12,  St.  Louis,  20  March  1839 
U.S.  to  Collier  &  Pettus 

153  lbs.  dried  beef  19.89 

4  half  bbls.  pilot  bread  10.00 

1  box  .50 


Collier  &  Pettus  were  wholesale  grocers  and  forwarding  and  commission 
merchants,  14  Front  Street,  St.  Louis, 

Voucher  No.  13,  St.  Louis,  22  March  1839 
U.S.  to  S.  W.  Meech 

\  ream  blue  wove  cap  1.50 

\  ream  white  letter  1.38 

2  quires  envelope  paper  .75 
1  4-quire  half-bound  record  1.50 
1  2-quire  1 /bound  blanks  2.00 
1  card  steel  pens  1.00 
1  box  wafers  .13 

1  screw  top  ink  stand  .75 
4  bottles  Japan  ink  1.00 
6  reams  mapping  paper  12.00 

2  rulers  .50 
4  papers  of  ink  powder  -50 

1  4-quire  demy  record  4.00 
4  binder's  boards  covered  with  leather  3.00 
covering  two  boards  with  leather  .75 

2  binder's  boards  .25 
binding  2  vols,  geology  &  botany  1.87 
box  for  packing  mapping  paper  1.00 


S.  W.  Meech  was  proprietor  of  the  Franklin  Bookstore,  St.  Louis. 


Voucher  No.  14,  St.  Louis,  22  March  1839 
U.S.  to  Mueller  &  Ktngpeter 

21  March  1839 

1  trunk  4.50 

1  case  for  telescope  2.25 

6  straps  for  herbarium  1.50 


This  St.  Louis  firm  was  listed  in  1840-41  as  Miller  &  Kinzpeter,  saddlers 
and  harnessmakers,  at  53  S.  Second  Street. 

Voucher  No.  15,  St.  Louis,  21  March  1839 
U.S.  to  A.  W.  Kruger 

1  German  cavalry  bridle,  martingale  and  crupper  15.00 

A.  W.  Kruger  not  identified. 

Voucher  No.  16,  St.  Louis,  22  March  1839 
U.S.  to  H.  L.  Zierlein 

1  rifle  20.00 

Henry  L.  Zierlein  (1799-1864),  a  Prussian,  became  one  of  the  first  German 
hardware  merchants  in  St.  Louis. 

Voucher  No.  17,  St.  Louis,  23  March  1839 
U.S.  to  J.  N.  Nicollet 

On  account  of  services  rendered  as  chief  of  the  North  West 
Exploring  Expedition  1000.00 

Voucher  No.  18,  St.  Louis,  19  March  1839 
U.S.  to  R.  Simpson 

24  lbs.  chocolate  4.80 

This  merchant  may  be  Dr.  Robert  Simpson  (1785-1873),  who  operated 
a  store  in  this  period  but  who  earlier  had  served  in  the  Army  as  a  surgeon.  He 
had  come  to  the  Mississippi  Valley  in  1809  from  Maryland,  ordered  to  serve 
the  troops  at  the  newly  constructed  Fort  Madison.  After  resigning  in  1812 
he  started  a  medical  practice  in  St.  Louis,  and  also  operated  a  drug  store.  See 
scHARF,  2:1520;  billon,  244,  341;  jackson  [3],  25-26. 


Voucher  No.  19,  St.  Louis,  23  March  1839 
U.S.  to  ].  E.  Flandin 

Transportation  of  stores  and  instruments  from  New  York  to 
Baltimore  3.75 

Voucher  No.  20,  St.  Louis,  25  March  1839 
U.S.  to  Charles  Reshiner 

23  Jan.  1839 

1  sextant  cleaned  and  varnished  20.00 

1  magnifying  glass  and  movement  5.00 

1  mahogany  box  8.00 

2  barometers  filled,  and  new^  tubes  5.00 

15  Feb. 

1  brass  frame  to  magnifying  glass  .75 

1  magnifying  glass  with  wood  frame  1.00 

16  March 

1  artificial  horizon  repaired  1.00 
cleaning  vertical  circle  3.00 
22  March 

cleaning  telescope  .75 

magnifying  glass  and  tube  to  small  sextant  2.50 

2  leather  cases  for  barometers  4.00 
2  leather  cases  altered  1.00 
1  leather  case  for  sextant  4.00 


We  have  not  identified  Charles  Reshiner  or  Ryhiner,  or  F.  Ryhiner   (see 
voucher  no.  15  below^). 

Voucher  No.  21,  St.  Louis,  25  March  1839 
U.S.  to  Chas.  A.  Geyer 

For  services  100.00 

Endorsed  by  JCF:  "Mr.  Geyer  was  appointed  by  the  War  Department  as 
assistant  to  J.  N.  Nicollet  Esqr.,  appointment  bearing  date  1st  March  1839." 
In  another  hand:  "at  $2.00  per  day  from  the  10th  March  to  the  29th  April 
inclusive."  Another  endorsement  by  JCF:  "The  amount  was  paid  in  advance 
to  enable  Mr.  Geyer  to  procure  his  outfit.  .  .  ." 


Voucher  No.  22,  St.  Louis,  25  March  1839 
U.S.  to  H.  H  el  gen  berg 

1  sledge  hammer  2.50 

1  small  hammer  1-00 

1  small  grubbing  hoe  2.00 

2  stone  chisels  2.00 
1  pruning  [  ?]  rod  1-^0 


Certified:  "I  certify  that  the  above  amount  is  Correct.  C.  Fremont."  Both 
the  certification  and  signature  are  in  the  hand  of  Jessie  Benton  Fremont,  and 
probably  were  not  added  until  at  least  late  1841.  Henry  Helgenberg  first  ap- 
pears in  a  St.  Louis  directory  in  1842,  listed  as  a  grocer  on  Carondelet  Avenue 
between  Bridge  and  Wood. 

Voucher  No.  23,  St.  Louis,  22  March  1839 
U.S.  to  Charles  A.  Geyer 

For  services  16.00,  drayage  1.00  17.00 

With  endorsements  similar  to  those  for  no.  21,  indicating  service  at  2.00 
per  day  from  1  to  8  March  inclusive. 

Voucher  No.  24,  St.  Louis,  28  March  1839 
U.S.  to  J.  N.  Nicollet 

On  account  of  services  rendered  as  chief  of  the  North  West 
Exploring  Expedition.  100.00 

Voucher  No.  25,  St.  Louis,  29  March  1839 
U.S.  to  f.  S.  Page 

1  cord  and  tassels  for  flag  .87| 

No  firm  by  this  name  is  listed  in  the  St.  Louis  directory  for  1838-39,  and  it 
may  be  an  error  for  J.  S.  Pease  &  Company — importers  and  dealers  in  hard- 
ware, cutlery,  etc.  at  20  N.  First  Street. 

Voucher  No.  26,  St.  Louis,  29  March  1839 
U.S.  to  Henry  Chouteau 

1  box  hams  and  bacon  43.50 

1  keg  butter  11.20 

1  box  port  wine,  12  bottles  8.00 


1  box  sperm  candles  14.88 

drayage  -25 


Voucher  No.  27,  St.  Louis,  29  March  1839 
U.S.  to  Chouteau  &  Barlow 

25  March  1839 

3  bed  cords  1.50 

2  tea  kettles  3.50 

2  [boxes]  percussion  caps  1.25 

2  frying  pans  2.00 

2  cork  screws  .75 

2  doz.  knives  and  forks  4.00 

3  loaves  sugar  4.10 
1  tin  cup  -75 

4  canisters  2.00 

1  [  ]  plates  1.00 

2  coffee  pots  3.00 

2  lanterns  1-00 

3  lbs.  saleratus  .75 
2  doz.  matches  1.00 

1  doz.  spoons  1.12 

2  wash  basins  .75 
2  sauce  pans  2.00 

1  saw  1.25 

2  spades  2.50 


Chouteau  and  Barlow,  grocers  and  dry  goods  and  commission  merchants, 
were  at  Front  and  Market  Streets,  St.  Louis,  in  1838-39. 

Voucher  No.  28,  St.  Louis,  29  March  1839 
U.S.  to  E.  &  J.  C.  Bredell 

1  crimson  scarf  1.75 

Edward  and  John  C.  Bredell,  brothers,  were  dry  goods  merchants  at  Main 
and  Market  Streets,  St.  Louis. 


Voucher  No.  29,  St.  Louis,  29  March  1839 
U.S.  to  Gaty,  Coonce  &-  Beltshoover 

[An  illegible  voucher  involving  materials  for  making  rockets, 
including  brass  items,  three  rammers,  and  other  items,  total- 
ing 28.75]. 

Samuel  Gaty  (b.  1811)  was  chief  partner  in  a  foundry  firm  known  vari- 
ously as  Gaty  &  Coonce;  Gaty,  Coonce  &  Morton;  and  Gaty,  Coonce  &  Belt- 
shoover. Gaty  made  the  first  casting  in  St.  Louis  and  the  first  steam  engine 
west  of  the  Mississippi  (scharf,  1:666-68). 

Voucher  No.  30,  St.  Louis,  30  March  1839 
U.S.  to  Mrs.  E.  Lyons 

Making  2  mosquito  bars  3.00 

making  liner  for  same  1.50 

making  scarf  for  flag  1.00 


In  1840,  an  E.  Lyons  family  ran  a  fancy  goods  store  at  24  Market  Street, 
St.  Louis. 

Voucher  No.  31,  St.  Louis,  29  March  1839 
U.S.  to  Taylor  &  Marshall 

J  yard  Tibet  merino  1.25 

In  1841,  Taylor  and  Marshall  were  dealers  in  staple  and  fancy  dry  goods, 
Main  and  Pine  Streets,  St.  Louis. 

Voucher  No.  32,  St.  Louis,  30  March  1839 
U.S.  to  George  Engelmann,  M.D. 

Set  of  chemical  tests  in  a  box  with  blowpipe  8.50 

6  [.  .  .]  18.00 

medicines,  emetics,  pills  3.50 

bottle  of  camphor  1.50 


Voucher  No.  33,  St.  Louis,  30  March  1839 
U.S.  to  Jaccard  &•  Co. 

Cleaning  and  repairing  one  gold  patent  duplex  watch  8.00 

3  common  keys  .37^ 


1  guard  chain  3>1\ 

2  watch  glasses  2.00 
cleaning  and  repairing  silver  watch                                               4.00 


Until  1848,  Louis  Jaccard  was  a  principal  owner  of  the  jewelry  house  of 
Jaccard  &  Co.,  St.  Louis  (scharf,  2:1320). 

Second,  Third,  and  Fourth  Quarters,  1839 

Voucher  No.  1,  St.  Louis,  1  April  1839 
U.S.  to  Carstens  &  Schuetze 

[Illegible  bill,  including  15  lbs.  saltpeter  for  3.00,  and  2  lbs. 
sulfur.]  4.81 

Carstens  and  Schuetze,  168  Main  Street,  St.  Louis,  were  wholesale  druggists 
and  apothecaries. 

Voucher  No.  2,  St.  Louis,  1  April  1839 
U.S.  to  S.  Wing  &  Co. 

30  tin  grenade  cases  11.25 

S.  Wing  &  Co.,  21  N.  First  Street,  is  listed  as  tin  manufacturer  and  dealer 
in  the  St.  Louis  directory  for  1842. 

Voucher  No.  3,  St.  Louis,  Mo.,  2  April  1839 
U.S.  to  Mead  &  Adriance 

2  pair  gilt  flag  tassels  7.00 

In  1839,  Mead  and  Adriance  were  dealers  in  clocks,  watches,  jewelry,  and 
military  and  fancy  goods,  at  the  corner  of  First  and  Pine  Streets,  St.  Louis. 

Voucher  No.  4,  St.  Louis,  3  April  1839 
U.S.  to  George  Engelmann,  M.D. 

2  bottles  soda  of  tartaric  acid  2.00 

sharpening  lancets  -25 



Voucher  No.  5,  St.  Louis,  3  April  1839 
U.S.  to  Grimsley  &  Young 

2  Spanish  saddles  15.00 

1  bridle  2.50 

1  black  leather  belt  ^ 


Grimsley  and  Young  made  saddles,  harness,  and  trunks  for  the  wholesale 
and  retail  trade,  37  Main  Street,  St.  Louis. 

Voucher  No.  6,  St.  Louis,  4  April  1839 
U.S.  to  J.  E.  Flan  din 

To  cash  advanced  for  paper,  etc.  2.00 

cleaning  rifle  2.50 

tent  poles  H-OO 

drayage  1-50 

powder  __l 


Voucher  No.  7,  St.  Louis,  5  April  1839 
U.S.  to  J.  E.  Flandin 

gun  and  case  55.00 

compensation  for  service  from  4  March  to  5  April  @  2.00  66.00 


Voucher  No.  8,  Fort  Pierre,  25  June  1839 
U.S.  to  J.  Baptiste  Dorion 

1  bay  horse  140.00 

Jean  Baptiste  Dorion,  the  interpreter  at  Fort  Pierre  when  the  Nicollet  party 
stopped  there,  was  the  son  of  Pierre  Dorion  (ca.  1750-1810),  who  served  with 
Lewis  and  Clark,  and  the  brother  of  Pierre  Dorion,  Jr.,  who  guided  the 
Astorians  to  Oregon  and  was  killed  there  by  Indians  in  1813  (robinson, 

Voucher  No.  9,  Lac  du  Brochet,  18  Aug.  1839 
U.S.  to  Louison  Frenier 

For  services  rendered  as  guide,  61  days  @  2.50  152.50 

Freniere's  mark  witnessed  by  William  Dickson. 


Voucher  No.  10,  Lac  du  Brocket,  18  Aug.  1839 
U.S.  to  Pierre  Dorion 

For  services  as  hunter,  61  days  @  1.00  per  diem  61.00 

Dorion's  mark  witnessed  by  William  Dickson.  Dorion  was  the  son  of  Jean 
Baptiste,  who  is  identified  under  voucher  no.  8. 

Voucher  No.  11,  Coteau  du  Prairie,  22  Aug.  1839 
U.S.  to  Wm.  Dickson 

For  service  as  interpreter  and  guide,  96  days  @  4.00  384.00 

1  bridle  2.00 


Voucher  No.  12,  Traverse  des  Sioux,  13  Sept.  1839 
U.S.  to  Joseph  Renville 

1  3-pt.  blanket  7.00 

1-3/4  [.  .  .]  6.50 

f  yds.  same  2.00 

107  lbs.  lead  13.37i 

50  lbs.  powder  37.50 

80  lbs.  beef  6.40 

100  lbs.  flour  6.50 

4  lbs.  white  sugar  1-00 

equipment  30.00 

1  canneau  [  ?]  15.00 

10  lbs.  tobacco  2.50 

3  lbs.  tobacco  -75 

50  lbs.  meal  3.25 

30  lbs.  lard  7.50 

15  lbs.  sugar  3.75 
For  7  days  of  service  as  guide  and  interpreter  from  5  Sept. 

through  11  Sept.  @  2.50  17.50 


Voucher  No.  13,  St.  Peters,  1  Nov.  1839 
U.S.  to  American  Fur  Company 

Shoeing  1  horse  3.00,  1  cast  steel  axe  with  handle  3.37  6.37 

2  lbs.  sugar  400,  \  lb.  tea  5/,  28  lbs.  pork  4.20  5.22 

2i  lbs.  soap  5/,  cash  80.00,  4  lbs.  tobacco  1.00  81.63 


1  hemp  bed  cord  5/,  6  lbs.  shot  6/,  20  lbs.  sugar  4.00  5.38 
15  lbs.  pemmican  2.10,  50  lbs.  pork  7.50  9.60 
96  lbs.  flour  7.00,  ^  gallon  molasses  6.00  7.75 
4  lbs.  coffee  80^,  13-pt.  blanket  6.00,  1  surcingle  8/  7.80 
Amount  paid  for  hire  of  1  man  with  horse  and  cart  from  St. 
Peters  to  Prairie  du  Chien  with  allowance  of  time  for  re- 
turn, say  50  days  @  2.00  per  day  100.00 


Rect.  by  H.  H.  Sibley  for  the  American  Fur  Company. 

Voucher  No.  14,  Prairie  du  Chien,  3  Nov.  1839 
U.S.  to  American  Fur  Company 

113  lbs.  pork  @  1210,  8  lbs.  coffee  @  25^  16.13 

40  loaves  bread  @  \2\(t,  25  lbs.  sugar  4.25  9.25 

1  quire  paper  50(Z',  1  gal.  pease  25^  .75 

1  box  matches,  250,  1  lb.  tea  1.25  1.50 

paid  Augt.  Rock  for  provisions  5.00 

1  paper  tacks  250,  1  lb.  cut  nails  .44 

amount  paid  M.  Richards  for  provisions  38.00 


Rect.  by  H.  L.  Dousman  for  the  American  Fur  Company.  M.  Richards,  in 
the  last  line,  is  not  identified — but  a  man  named  Milo  Richards  was  selected 
for  the  grand  jury  at  the  3  Jan.  1842  meeting  of  the  Crawford  County  Board  of 
Commissioners  (wis.  his.  rec.  sur.,  95). 

Voucher  No.  15,  St.  Louis,  2  Dec.  1839 
U.S.  to  Estate  of  C.  Ryhiner 

Repair  1  telescope  3.00 

Rect.  by  F.  Ryhiner,  administrator. 

Voucher  No.  16,  St.  Louis,  6  Dec.  1839 
U.S.  to  L.  Zindel 

For  services  rendered,  17  days  @  1.00,  from  18  Nov.  to  5 
Dec.  inclusive  17.00 


Voucher  No.  17,  Pittsburgh,  17  Dec.  1839 
U.S.  to  May  &  H annas 

Freight  on  12  packs  from  St.  Louis  to  Pittsburgh 

2  packing  boxes 

receiving,  forwarding  &  drayage  on  17  packs 




In  1839,  May  and  Hannas  were  wholesale  grocers  and  commission  and  for- 
warding merchants  in  Pittsburgh. 

Voucher  No.  18,  Pittsburgh,  18  Dec.  1839 
U.S.  to  L.  Ackcrman 

Transportation  per  stage  coach  of  instruments  and  one  trunk 
containing  manuscripts  and  field  notes 

L.  Ackerman  not  identified. 


Voucher  No.  19,  St.  Louis,  18  Dec.  1839 
U.S.  to  Charles  A.  Geyer 

For  services  rendered  as  assistant  to  J.  N.  Nicollet  from 
28  April  to  14  Dec.  1839  @  2.00  per  diem 


Subvoucher,  St.  Louis,  4  Dec.  1839 
U.S.  to  P.  Chouteau,  Jr.,  and  Company 

For  advances  at  St.  Louis  to  Lt.  Fremont  on  a/c  of 

Exploring  Expedition 
19  March  1839 

To  cash  paid  Lt.  Fremont's  order 
To  cash  paid  Flandin 
To  cash  paid  the  same 
To  cash  paid  the  same 
To  cash  paid  Dorion 
To  cash  paid  Freniere 
To  cash  paid  for  advertising  lost  boxes 
To  cash  paid  Dousman 
To  cash  paid  Dickson 
To  cash  paid  Lt.  Fremont's  order 
To  cash  paid  same 
To  wages  paid  Jacques  Fournaise 














To  wages  paid  Frangois  Latulippe  185.00 

To  wages  paid  Joseph  Chartran  191.00 

To  wages  paid  Louis  Zindell  207.00 

To  wages  paid  Etienne  Provost  778.00 

To  cash  paid  Lt.  Fremont's  order  300.00 


Rect.  at  St.  Louis  4  Dec.  1839  by  Pierre  Chouteau,  Jr.,  and  certified  by  JCF. 
Endorsed  in  the  auditor's  office:  "Private  with  the  exception  of  an  item  for 
advertising  boxes."  Persons  not  previously  identified  include  Joseph  Fournaise, 
who  may  be  Jacques  Fournais,  dit  Pino.  Fournais  went  to  the  mountains  in 
1827  for  W.  H.  Ashley  &  Co.  and  was  with  Robert  Campbell  in  the  Flathead 
country  in  1827-28.  He  apparently  was  a  man  of  extreme  age  at  his  death  at 
Kansas  City  in  1871,  perhaps  as  old  as  124  years,  and  reportedly  had  been 
refused  service  with  Andrew  Jackson  in  the  War  of  1812  because  of  his  age 
( ASHLEY,  290-91).  Warren  Ferris  described  some  of  his  unusual  experiences 
in  Indian  country  without  a  weapon  (ferris,  221-30).  Francois  Latulippe, 
who  is  carried  in  the  Chouteau  ledgers  both  as  Latulipe  Monbleau  and 
Francois  Latulipe,  would  join  JCF's  expedition  in  1842  as  a  voyageur  and  go 
as  far  as  Fort  John  on  the  Platte  River.  See  pp.  182-84.  Joseph  Chartran, 
whom  we  have  not  identified,  is  listed  elsewhere  as  Joseph  Chartrand. 

The  location  of  the  foregoing  documents  is  DNA-217,  Third  Auditor's 
Reports  and  Accounts,  Acct.  No.  10954. 

24.  Fremont  to  Joel  R.  Poinsett 

Baltimore,  Jany  3d  '40 

Dear  Sir 

Expecting  to  find  Mr.  Nicollet  detained  by  his  friends  at  this 
place  I  left  Washington  on  the  27th  ult.  to  tell  him  how  much 
time  was  pressing  &  how  pleased  you  would  be  to  see  him.  Up  to 
this  time,  however,  he  has  not  made  his  appearance  &  we  have  re- 
ceived no  letter  nor  any  other  intelligence  from  him.  Remember- 
ing that  I  left  him  in  bad  health,  not  yet  recovered  from  a  rather 
severe  attack,  &  knowing  that  he  would  not  fail  to  do  the  same  for 
me,  I  would  certainly  set  out  in  search,  but  that  my  funds  are  so 
completely  low  as  to  prevent  me.  He  may  be  sick  at  some  little 
roadside  inn  &  wd.  be  glad  to  see  a  friend. 

I  can  do  nothing  in  the  way  of  work  without  him  and  therefore 
I  think  I  am  excusable  in  remaining  here  until  his  arrival  &  shall 
do  so  if  I  do  not  receive  an  order  to  the  contrary.  I  was  hoping  that 


Mrs.  Poinsett's  Buffalo  tongues  would  have  been  in  time  for  the 
New  Year  Dinner,  but  the  state  of  the  roads,  I  suppose,  prevented 
their  arrival.  I  hope  that  she  is  well.  Will  you  have  the  kindness  to 
present  to  her  my  respectful  regards  with  my  New  Year  wishes  for 
the  enjoyment  of  uninterrupted  health  &  happiness  ? 

I  am  receiving  a  great  deal  of  very  agreeable  attention  here.  Some 
of  their  friendship  for  Mr.  N,  is  reflected  on  me,  I  suppose.  I  hope 
soon  to  be  able  to  give  you  notice  of  his  arrival.  Very  Respectfully 
Dear  Sir,  Your  Obt.  Servt. 

Charles  Fremont 

ALS,  RC  (PHi — Poinsett  Papers).  Addressed  and  endorsed. 

25.  Fremont  to  J.  J.  Abert 

Washington  City  Novr.  10th  1840 


It  becomes  necessary  for  us  soon  to  give  up  the  rooms  which  we 
now  occupy  in  the  Coast  Survey  &  Weights  and  Measures  building, 
which  will  oblige  us  to  hire  rooms  for  our  own  work.  I  have  made 
the  requisite  enquiries  and  find  that  rooms  can  be  obtained  on  4^ 
street  for  $18  per  month  each. 

We  shall  want  three  rooms  and  the  necessary  fuel,  and  I  have 
now  to  submit  the  application  to  your  consideration.  Very  respect- 
fully &c. 

Chs.  Fremont 

Copy  (DNA-217,  Third  Auditor's  Reports  and  Accounts,  Acct.  No.  12245). 
Endorsed:  "Col.  Abert  respectfully  recommends  no  greater  allowance  than 
for  each  room  per  month,  $10  for  an  attendant  with  the  requisite  fuel. 
Approved,  J.  R.  P[oinsett  |." 


26.  J.  J.  Abert  to  Fremont 

Bureau  of  Topogrl.  Engrs. 
Washington,  Novbr.  19th  1840 

Your  letter  of  the  10th  instt.  has  been  duly  submitted  to  the  War 
Department,  and  in  reply  I  am  authorized  to  state  that  you  can  en- 
gage three  rooms  at  a  charge  not  exceeding  ten  dollars  for  each 
room  per  month.  An  attendant  upon  the  rooms  at  a  charge  not 
exceeding  ten  dollars  pr.  month,  and  you  can  also  procure  the 
necessary  fuel.  The  expenditures  on  these  accounts  will  have  to  be 
paid  out  of  the  appropriation  for  the  Survey  upon  which  you  are 
employed.  The  entire  balance  left  in  the  Treasury  is  $1742.20  and 
I  am  particularly  charged  to  direct  that  on  no  account  is  the  balance 
to  be  exceeded,  so  as  to  create  arrearages  in  case  no  additional  ap- 
propriations should  be  made.  Respectfully, 

J.  J.  Abert  CI.  T.  E. 

Lbk  (DNA-77,  LS,  4:296-97). 

27.  Financial  Records,  1840 

[31  Dec.  1840] 

First,  Second,  and  Third  Quarters,  1840 

Voucher  No.  1,  St.  Louis,  [1  July  1840] 
U.S.  to  Charles  A.  Geyer 

For  services  rendered  to  the  U.S.  as  assistant  to  J.  N. 

Nicollet  from  14  Dec.  1839  to  1  July  1840  @  2.00  per  diem  396.00 

For  transportation  as  follows: 

Fort  Pierre  to  Oak  Wood  on  the  James  River,  118  mi.  11.80 

Oak  Wood  to  Devil's  Lake,  362  mi.  36.20 

Devil's  Lake  to  Lac  qui  Parle,  520  mi.  52.00 

Lac  qui  Parle  to  St.  Peters,  470  mi.  47.00 

St.  Peters  to  St.  Louis,  694  mi.  69.40 


Voucher  No.  2,  St.  Louis,  19  Nov.  1839 
U.S.  to  Joseph  Fournaise 

For  services  to  J.  N.  Nicollet  as  an  engage,  1  March  to  16 

Nov.  1839  @  1.00  per  diem  261.00 

Less  cash  received  on  account  163.13 


Signed  with  Fournaise's  mark  and  witnessed  by  M[ichel]  S[ylvestre]  Cerre, 
a  member  of  a  family  well  known  in  the  fur  trade  of  the  West.  Cerre  had 
been  a  member  of  the  "French  Company"  or  P.  D.  Papin  Co.  which  Kenneth 
McKenzie  eliminated  from  the  trade  in  1830.  He  had  also  been  principal  as- 
sistant to  Captain  Bonneville  (chittenden,  1:309,  405;  abel,  xxvi,  202).  After 
1835,  Cerre's  time  was  spent  mainly  in  St.  Louis.  In  1848,  he  was  the  only 
Whig  representative  from  that  city  elected  to  the  state  legislature.  He  served 
as  sheriff  of  St.  Louis  County  from  Aug.  1858  until  his  death  in  1860  (  Ander- 
son, 281-83). 

Voucher  No.  3,  St.  Louis,  19  Nov.  1839 
U.S.  to  Francis  Latulipe 

For  services  to  J.  N.  Nicollet  as  an  engage,  1  March  to  16 

Nov.  1839  @  1.00  per  diem  261.00 

Less  cash  received  on  account  96.50 


Signed  with  Latulippe's  mark  and  witnessed  by  M.  S.  Cerre. 

Voucher  No.  4,  St.  Louis,  19  Nov.  1839 
U.S.  to  Joseph  Chartrand 

For  services  to  J.  N.  Nicollet  as  an  engage,  1  March  to  16 

Nov.  1839  261.00 

Less  cash  received  on  account  152.00 


Signed  with  Chartrand's  mark  and  witnessed  by  M.  S.  Cerre. 

Voucher  No.  5,  St.  Louis,  19  Nov.  1839 
U.S.  to  Louis  Zindel 

For  services  to  J.  N.  Nicollet  as  an  engage,  1  March  to  16 

Nov.  1839  261.00 

Less  cash  received  on  account  56.00 


Signed  with  Zindel's  mark  and  witnessed  by  M.  S.  Cerre. 


Voucher  No.  6,  St.  Louis,  20  Nov.  1839 
U.S.  to  Etienne  Provinceau  [Provost] 

For  services  to  J.  N.  Nicollet  as  a  guide,  1  March  to  16  Nov. 

1839  @  3.00  per  diem  783.00 

Less  cash  received  on  account  33.00 


Voucher  No.  7,  St.  Louis,  20  Nov.  1839 
U.S.  to  ].  N.  Nicollet 

To  amount  expended  in  the  purchase  of  provisions  and 
other  necessaries  required  in  a  survey  of  the  Mississippi 
during  a  portion  of  the  months  of  October  and  Novem- 
ber 1839  183.00 

Endorsed  by  Nicollet:  "These  expenditures  were  for  a  separate  Survey  un- 
der me,  and  were  for  provisions  &  hire  of  hands,  provisions  bought  as  wanted 
from  the  inhabitants.  I  certify  that  the  expenses  were  actually  made  as  stated, 
that  vouchers  could  not  have  been  procured  but  in  a  few  cases  and  that  I  was 
not  aware  of  their  necessity,  and  that  the  amount  charged  was  paid  on  public 

Voucher  No.  8,  St.  Louis,  23  Nov.  1839 
U.S.  to  J.  N.  Nicollet 

On  account  of  geographical  surveys  west  of  the  Mississippi      2000.00 

Voucher  No.  9,  St.  Louis,  29  Nov.  1839 
U.S.  to  P.  Chouteau,  Jr.,  and  Company 

For  sundries  furnished  Lt.  Fremont  at  Fort  Pierre: 

226  lbs.  sugar  113.00 

112  lbs.  coflee  56.00 

2\  lbs.  tea  6.75 

368  lbs.  tobacco  184.00 

10  3-pt.  blue  blankets  100.00 

2  3-pt.  H.  B.  [Hudson  Bay]  blankets  20.00 

8  2i  pt.  H.  B.  blankets  64.00 

5  2-pt.  white  blankets  35.00 

58  pieces  dry  meat  29.00 

211  lbs.  lead  52.75 

28^  lbs.  powder  21.38 

21  lbs.  balls  5.25 


3  buffalo  robes  9.00 

8  bu.  white  agate  beads  32.00 

i  lb.  fine  garnishing  250,  20  bu.  blue  beads  $40.00  40.25 

20  bu.  white  beads  40.00,  12  bu.  blue  agate  beads  48.00  88.00 

10  bu.  barley  corn  30.00,  4  strings  beads  2.00  32.00 

25  lbs.  biscuit  5.00,  8  lbs.  thread  20.00  25.50 

6  lbs.  fish  hooks  6.00,  12|  doz.  Crambo  combs  12.13  18.13 

2  gross  Indian  awls  8.00,  2  gross  gun  worms  5.00  13.00 

19  snaffle  bridles  23.75 

5  half-plate  bridles  17.50 

2  full-plate  bridles  6.67 
^  lb.  candle  wick  250,  30-|  lbs.  arrow  points  10.38  10.63 
1  piece  [.  .  .]  cloth  60.75 
1  yd.  blue  Stroud  2.50,  1  piece  cloth  10.00  12.50 
1  piece  scarlet  cloth  65.25 
l^  yds.  red  flannel  14.25,  1  yd.  fine  blue  cloth  7.00  21.25 

6  pair  scissors  3.00,  1  box  soap  14.10  17.10 

3  surcingles  3.00  1  fort  [  ?]  flag  50.00  53.00 

1  American  ensign  15.00, 1  capot  16.00  31.00 
3  leather  halters  6.00,  173  yds.  calico  86.50  92.50 

2  wooden  bowls  2.00,  1  padlock  1.00  3.00 
2  japanned  kettles  13.75,  2  tin  kettles  5.00  18.75 

1  iron  chain  3.00,  11  large  cords  5.00,  1  drawing  knife  1.75  9.75 

2  shirts  3.50,  5  lbs.  tallow  750,  2  pieces  stirrup  iron  3.00  7.25 

1  barrel  navy  bread,  24.00,  3  parchments,  3.00  27.00 
12%  2  doz.  knives  76.50 
6  chopping  axes  18.00,  1  Assiniboin  lance  3.00  21.00 
8  lbs.  sturgeon  line  24.00,  4  doz.  looking  glasses  6.00  30.00 
10|  lbs.  Vermillion  43.00 

3  gross  coat  buttons  12.00,  1  doz.  small  [?]  3.00  15.00 
3  gross  finger  rings  9.00,  2  elk  skins  5.00  14.00 
3  antelope  skins  5.00,  5  bu.  corn  &  bags  15.50  20.50 
150  lbs.  salt  18.75,  6  lbs.  gun  flints  12.00  30.75 
6  pieces  ribbon  18.00,  |  gross  Highland  gartering  5.00  23.00 
3  [?]  brass  nails  6.00 
5  lbs.  verdigris  15.00,  5  doz.  fire  steels  10.00  25.00 
75  lbs.  nails  18.75,  10  papers  hawk  bells  15.00  33.75 
12  papers  needles  3.00,  1  leather  bag  1.00  4.00 

2  grizzly  bear  skins  6.00,  3  black  silk  handkerchiefs  6.00  12.00 


9  undressed  cowskins 


1  large  skin 


1  ermine  [  ?] 


paid  Dorion 


paid  L.  Frenier 


paid  H.  Tillot  [not  identified 


3  kegs  for  sugar  1.25,  1  bag  500,  1  packing  box  4.00 


1  keg  for  coflfee  2.00,  1  10-gallon  keg  2.00 



Voucher  No.  10,  St.  Louis,  29  Nov.  1839 
U.S.  to  P.  Chouteau,  Jr.,  and  Company 

15  March 

36  yds.  mosquito  netting  9.00 
28  March 

65  yds.  bed  ticking  18.25 

6  barrels  flour  48.00 

110  lbs.  sugar  11.00 

100  lbs.  rice  8.50 

13  lbs.  tea  9.75 

150  lbs.  powder  48.00 

125  lbs.  shot  12.00 

160  lbs.  small  bar  lead  10.40 

2  lbs.  pepper  .33 

3  hatchets  2.25 

4  sickles  2.00 
6  axes  with  handles  12.00 
2  barrels  lyed  corn,  7  bushels  7.87 
2  April 

2  pieces  Russia  sheeting  18.00 

3  barrels  mess  pork  72.00 
2  kegs  white  lead  6.00 

5  gals,  linseed  oil  7.25 

37  oz.  red  lead,  keg  25^  4.88 
1  bottle  Japan  varnish  .75 
drayage  1.25 



Voucher  No.  11,  St.  Louis,  29  Nov.  1839 
U.S.  to  the  Steamboat  Antelope 

5  April 

For  freight  and  passage  of  Lt.  Fremont  and  party: 
freight  to  Fort  Pierre  322.20 

4  cabin  passages  300.00 

6  men  on  deck  120.00 


Certified  by  E.  Chouteau,  master. 

Voucher  No.  12,  St.  Louis,  4  Dec.  1839 
U.S.  to  Papin  &  Halsey  {for  P.  Chouteau,  Jr.,  and  Company) 

For  sundries  furnished  Lt.  Fremont  at  Fort  Pierre: 

1  Sept. 

4  carts  and  harness  complete  220.00 

4  mules  320.00,  1  horse  70.00  390.00 

4  Indian  horses  240.00 

4  Northwest  guns  80.00 

1  fowling  gun  25.00,  3  powder  horns  1.50  26.50 

2  months'  time  of  5  men  @  25.00  per  month  250.00 
62  days'  hire  of  6  carts,  3  horses,  3  mules,  and  harness,  each 

cart  per  day  1.50  558.00 

62  days'  hire  of  2  used  guns  and  3  horns  2.75 

62  days'  hire  of  3  Northwest  guns  15.00 


Certified  by  P.  D.  Papin  and  JCF,  and  receipted  by  Pierre  Chouteau,  Jr., 
and  Co.  Pierre  Didier  Papin  (b.  1798)  was  an  agent  of  Chouteau  at  Fort 
Pierre,  along  with  Jacob  Halsey  (d.  1842).  Papin  would  be  assigned  to  take 
charge  of  Fort  Laramie  in  1845,  and  thus  have  further  dealings  with  JCF. 

Voucher  No.  13,  Washington,  8  July  1840 
U.S.  to  J.  N.  Nicollet 

For  transportation  from  Washington  to  St.  Louis,  911  mi. 
In  Northwest  Territory  from  9  June  to  26  Aug.,  78  days 

at  18  mi.  per  day,  1404  mi. 
From  14  Sept.  to  26  Oct.,  43  days  at  18  mi.  per  day,  774  mi. 
From  St.  Peters  to  St.  Louis,  694  mi. 
Fort  Pierre  to  Oak  Wood  on  James  River,  118  mi. 


James  River  to  Devil's  Lake  362  mi. 
Devil's  Lake  to  Lac  qui  Parle,  520  mi. 
Lac  qui  Parle  to  St.  Peters,  470  mi. 
St.  Peters  to  St.  Louis,  694  mi. 
St.  Louis  to  Washington,  911  mi. 

Total,  6858  mi.  @  10^  per  mi.  685.80 

Endorsed  by  JCF:  "The  number  of  miles  daily  made  in  the  N.  W.  Terry, 
could  not  be  exactly  ascertained.  An  average  was  taken.  C.  Fremont." 

Voucher  No.  14,  Washington,  8  July  1840 
US.  to  /.  N.  Nicollet 

For  services  rendered  in  making  geographical  surveys  of 
the  country  west  of  the  Mississippi,  from  7  April  1838 

to  7  July  1840,  inclusive,  823  days  @  8.00  per  diem  6584.00 

Amount  reed,  of  Lt.  C.  Fremont  on  account  1000.00 

Amount  reed,  of  Lt.  C.  Fremont  on  account  100.00 

Amount  reed,  of  Lt.  C.  Fremont  on  account  2000.00 


Voucher  No.  15,  Washington,  21  July  1840 
U.S.  to  Ludolph  Mailer 

For  services  as  assistant  calculator  on  reduction  of  maps 
from  North  West  Surveys  for  70  days,  from  12  May  to  20 
July  @  2.00  per  diem  140.00 

Ludolph  Miiller,  whom  JCF  hired  to  assist  him  with  the  preparation  of  the 
Nicollet  map,  does  not  appear  in  the  various  Washington,  D.C.,  directories 
for  the  1830s  and  1840s. 

Voucher  No.  16,  Washington,  19  Aug.  1840 
U.S.  to  William  Fischer 

10  Aug. 

1  card  mapping  pens  1.25 

1  stick  India  ink  .37^ 

^  doz.  Roohs  pencils  1.00 

china  cup  .06^ 


William  Fischer,  stationer,  was  located  at  Stationer's  Hall,  Washington, 
D.C.  JCF  has  made  a  small  error  in  addition,  and  the  total  should  be  $2.69. 


Voucher  No.  17,  Washington,  20  Aug.  1840 
U.S.  to  Geo.  &■  T.  Parser 

7  June 

1  box  candles  17.61 

20  Aug. 

1  box  candles  17.48 


In  1843,  George  and  T.  Parker  were  grocers  on  the  north  side  of  the  Centre 
Market  Place,  between  Seventh  and  Eighth  W.,  Washington. 

Voucher  No.  18,  Washington,  20  Aug.  1840 
U.S.  to  Franck^  Taylor 

1  Colton's  map  of  Iowa  2.75 

1  Colton's  map  of  Missouri  .62^ 


Franck   Taylor,  a   book   dealer,   advertised   in  the   Daily  National  Intelli- 
gencer, 24  Dec.  1839,  that  he  was  "four  doors  east  of  Gadsby's  Hotel." 

Voucher  No.  19,  Washington,  30  Sept.  1840 
U.S.  to  Ludolph  MUller 

For  services  as  assistant  to  }.  N.  Nicollet  from  1  Aug.  to  30 
Sept.  @  2.00  per  diem  122.00 

Fourth  Quarter,  1840 

Voucher  No.  1,  Washington,  28  Sept.  1840 
U.S.  to  Post  Office  Department 

Postage  on  one  letter  weighing  2  oz.  2.00 

Voucher  No.  2,  Washington,  1  Oct.  1840 
U.S.  to  J.  N.  Nicollet 

For  services  rendered  as  superintendent  of  the  government 
surveys  in  the  Northwestern  Country,  from  8  July  to 
30  Sept.  1840  @  8.00  per  diem  680.00 


Voucher  No.  3,  Washington 

,  30  Nov.  1840 

U.S.  to  Thomas  Triplett 

29  Oct. 

6  yds.  cotton  for  a  map 


pasting  paper  on  same 
6  yds.  linen  for  maps 


pasting  paper  on  same 
sewing  the  linen  for  the  maps 
6  yds.  linen 


1  paste  brush 



Thomas  Triplett,  a  bookbinder,  was  on  Massachusetts  Avenue  between 
Sixth  and  Seventh  in  1846. 

Voucher  No.  4,  Washington,  20  Dec.  1840 
U.S.  to  William  King,  Jr. 

For  repairing  3  instrument  boxes  8.25 

William  King,  Jr.,  may  be  the  son  of  the  cabinet  maker  William  King, 
listed  in  Benjamin  Roman's  Directory  of  Georgetown,  D.C.,  as  being  on 
Congress  Street,  near  Water  [31st  near  K  Street]. 

Voucher  No.  5,  Washington,  30  Dec.  1840 
U.S.  to  C.  M.  Eaf{in 

For  1  box  of  colors  to  be  used  in  construction  of  map  of  North 
Western  Surveys  7.50 

Constant  M.  Eakin  was  an  assistant  in  the  Coast  Survey. 

Voucher  No.  6,  Washington,  30  Dec.  1840 
U.S.  to  Ludolph  Mailer 

For  37  days  work,  assisting  in  the  office  on  detail  drawings, 
from  24  Nov.  to  30  Dec.  1840  @  2.00  per  diem  74.00 

Voucher  No.  7,  Washington,  31  Dec.  1840 
U.S.  to  Charles  Renard 

12  sheets  drawing  paper  for  maps  11.00 

6  yds.  linen  1.50 

sewing  for  2  maps  1.12^ 



bookbinder  work  1.62^ 

tacks  -10 


Charles  Renard,  according  to  cajori,   179,  was  also  one  of  Ferdinand   R. 
Hassler's  assistants. 

The  documents  presented  above  are  in  DNA-217,  Third  Auditor's  Reports 
and  Accounts,  Acct.  No.  10954. 

28.  J.  J.  Abert  to  Joel  R.  Poinsett 

Bureau  of  Topol.  Engrs. 
Washington,  Jany.  25th  1841 

I  have  the  honor  to  acknowledge  your  direction  to  report  upon 
that  part  of  a  Resolution  of  the  Military  Committee  of  the  House 
of  Representatives  in  reference  to  the  amount  required  to  extend 
the  Surveys,  and  to  publish  the  map  lately  made  by  Mr.  Nicollet. 

For  the  amount  required  to  extend  the  Survey,  allow  me  to  refer 
to  the  estimate  which  accompanied  the  annual  report  from  this 
office,  12th  Novbr.  1840,  in  which  there  is  an  item: 

"for  continuing  the  military  and  geographical  surveys  west  of  the 
Mississippi  .  .  .  $20,000.00." 

In  reference  to  the  cost  of  publishing  the  map  already  made,  I  sub- 
mit a  letter  from  Mr.  Stone.^  The  map  ought  to  be  engraved  on 
the  same  scale  on  which  it  is  drawn,  for,  if  reduced,  justice  will 
not  be  done  to  the  work,  as  many  highly  interesting  details  would 
have  to  be  omitted.  I  hope,  therefore,  that  no  reduction  of  the  Scale 
will  be  authorized. 

In  a  work  of  the  importance  of  this  involving  as  well  the  repu- 
tation of  the  War  Department  by  which  it  was  directed,  as  that  of 
the  officer  by  whom  the  Survey  has  been  made,  it  is  proper  that 
some  person  should  be  held  responsible  for  its  accuracy.  I  hope, 
therefore,  that  any  direction  to  print  the  same  will  also  contain 
authority  for  its  being  done  under  the  direction  of  this  office. 

The  map  should  be  engraved,  as  the  best,  the  most  economical, 
and  the  most  creditable  method  of  exhibiting  work  of  that  char- 


acter;  the  price  stated  by  Mr.  Stone  is  not  beyond  a  rigid  valuation  of 
a  moderate  compensation  for  the  materials,  talents  and  labors  which 
the  engraving  will  require;  and  as  the  plates  will  belong  to  the 
U.S.,  future  editions  of  the  map  can  be  issued,  at  no  greater  cost 
than  for  the  labor  of  printing  and  for  the  paper  required,  and  future 
additions  can  be  engraved  upon  the  same  plates. 

There  is  a  report  in  preparation  which  should  accompany  the 
map,  and  for  the  printing  of  which  it  is  also  desirable  to  have 

The  direction  might  be  to  have  these  laid  before  Congress  during 
its  next  session,  as  it  is  not  possible  to  have  them  in  time  for  the 
present.  Very  respectfully, 

J.  J.  Abert 
CI.  C.  T.  E. 

Lbk  (DNA-77,  LS,  4:359-60). 

1.  W.  }.  Stone  (1798-1865),  London-born  engraver  and  lithographer  who 
spent  more  than  fifty  years  in  Washington.  The  estimate  he  sent  to  Abert  has 
not  been  found. 

29.  Joel  R.  Poinsett  to  Levi  Woodbury 

February  26-1841 
i     Sir, 

I  have  the  honor  to  request  that  certain  township  plats  on  file  in 
the  General  Land  Office,  which  will  be  designated  by  the  bearer, 
Lieut.  Fremont,  may  be  delivered  to  him  to  be  used  for  a  few  days, 
to  aid  in  filling  up  the  details  of  a  map  of  the  North  Western  terri- 
tory, now  being  constructed  under  the  direction  of  this  department. 


Lbk  (DNA-107,  LS,  23:224).  Levi  Woodbury  (1789-1851)  was  Secretary 
of  the  Treasury  and  would  soon  serve  as  a  U.S.  senator  from  New  Hampshire. 


30.  }.  }.  Abert  to  Fremont 

Bureau  of  Topographical  Eng. 
Washington,  June  4th.  1841 

You  will  repair  without  delay  to  the  mouth  of  the  Rac[c]oon  fork 
of  the  Des  Moines,  in  order  to  determine  that  position,  and  the  To- 
pography of  the  adjacent  country.  You  will  also  make  a  survey  of  the 
Des  Moines,  from  the  Rac[c]oon  fork  to  its  mouth. 

As  this  information  is  wanted  for  the  map  of  the  Western  Coun- 
try now  being  made,  you  will  infuse  all  the  industry  in  your  power 
in  the  execution  of  the  duty ;  and  if  practicable,  be  back  to  this  city 
early  in  August.  Respectfully, 

J.  J.  Abert 
Col.  C.  T.  E. 

Lbk  (DNA-77,  LS,  4:480).  In  the  role  of  legend-makers,  the  Fremonts  per- 
petuated the  story  that  JCF  had  been  sent  to  survey  the  Des  Moines  River  to 
get  him  away  from  Washington  and  the  charms  of  young  Jessie  Benton.  His 
campaign  biographer,  John  Bigelow,  mentions  a  "mysterious  but  inexorable 
order"  to  survey  the  river  (bigelow,  34),  and  JCF's  own  memoirs  say, 
"Whether  or  not  this  detachment  from  Washington  originated  with  Mr. 
Nicollet  or  not  I  do  not  know,  but  I  was  loath  to  go"  (memoirs,  68).  Actually 
the  boundary  between  Missouri  and  Iowa  Territory  was  in  dispute  and  per- 
haps Benton  hoped  JCF's  survey  of  the  lower  course  of  the  Des  Moines 
would  bolster  the  expansionist  claims  of  the  Missourians.  Furthermore,  the 
Nicollet  map  would  be  more  valuable  with  such  a  survey.  The  area  around  the 
Raccoon  Forks  (where  the  Raccoon  joins  the  Des  Moines)  had  been  surveyed  by 
the  1st  Dragoons  when  exploring  for  a  wagon  road  between  Fort  Leaven- 
worth and  Fort  Snelling  in  1838.  Field  notes  and  a  journal  kept  by  one  of  the 
surveying  officers  are  in  DNA-77,  Box  64.  But  there  apparently  was  no  continu- 
ous and  extensive  survey  of  the  entire  river  below  the  forks,  although  Lieut. 
Albert  M.  Lea  (1808-91)  had  been  in  the  area  with  the  Dragoons  in  1835 
and  had  done  some  mapping.  His  Notes  on  the  Wisconsin  Territory,  Partic- 
ularly with  Reference  to  the  Iowa  District  or  Blac{  Haw\  Purchase  was  pub- 
lished in  Philadelphia  in  1836. 

One  further  survey,  ordered  by  Abert  in  Dec.  1840,  had  limited  objectives 
and  a  small  budget,  and  appears  to  have  been  concerned  mainly  with  obstruc- 
tions to  navigation,  which  in  itself  had  boundary  overtones.  See  the  report  of 
Capt.  William  B.  Guion,  of  the  Topographical  Engineers,  9  Oct.  1841, 
DNA-77,  LR,  2:70. 

If,  as  the  story  goes.  Senator  Thomas  Hart  Benton  had  JCF  sent  out  of 
Washington  so  that  he  might  forget  about  Jessie,  there  is  a  note  of  irony  in 
the  incident.  When  JCF  submitted  his  report  on  the  Des  Moines  in  the  fol- 
lowing spring  (see  Doc.  No.  37),  the  entire  document  except  the  maps  was  in 
Jessie's  hand. 



31.  Joseph  N.  Nicollet  to  Fremont 

Washington,  July  11, 1841 
My  dear  Fremont, 

I  have  received  with  joy  your  letter  dated  St.  Louis,  23rd  of  June 
past,  and  I  was  happy  to  learn  that  all  was  going  according  to  your 
wishes  to  assure  the  success  of  your  short  and  interesting  mission. 
I  assure  you  that  your  absence  is  no  less  sad  to  me  here  than  mine 
had  been  to  you  in  St.  Louis.  I  thank  you  for  the  touching  memento 
of  your  friendship.  No  day  passes  when  I  do  not  accompany  you  in 
heart  and  thought  in  all  your  moves.  I  calculate  your  arrival  in 
Racoon  fork,  and  I  see  with  sorrow  that  the  moon  is  going,  and 
that  we  won't  have  much  distance  from  the  moon  to  the  stars,  un- 
less you  can  stand  upright  after  midnight.  But  you  have  the  dis- 
tances in  the  sun  during  the  day,  and  I  know  you  won't  lose  them.  I 
am  glad  that  you  have  taken  Mr.  Geyer  to  help  you.  You  had  not 
left  Baltimore  when  the  idea  came  to  me  and  I  would  have  written 
to  St.  Louis  to  give  you  the  idea,  if  I  had  not  thought  that  Mr. 
Geyer  was  probably  involved  in  work  and  that  he  could  not  have 
accepted  your  offer.  I  am  deeply  distressed  with  what  you  tell  me  of 
his  situation.  Unfortunately,  I  cannot  do  all  that  you  ask  me  for 
him.  I  can  do  only  half,  and  I  am  writing  to  Mr.  Chouteau  to  give 
him  the  sum  of  100  dollars  for  me,  until  I  can  do  something  more. 
It  would  not  be  convenient  for  me  to  send  this  money  to  his  land- 
lord, and  for  the  sake  of  Geyer  I  should  not  do  it,  either.  It  would 
be  better  for  him  to  arrange  his  own  affairs  without  his  landlord 
knowing  what  goes  on  between  us,  between   friends.   Besides,  I 
would  not  have  another  way  of  sending  this  money  except  by  Mr. 
Chouteau,  with  whom  I  have  an  account,  and  who  will  advance  me 
the  sum.  But  Mr.  Chouteau,  to  whom  I  am  writing  for  this,  doesn't 
know  for  what  reason  I  am  sending  this  sum  to  Mr.  Geyer,  thus  the 
latter  need  have  no  qualms  in  presenting  himself  to  receive  it  and 
give  an  acknowledgment.  I  am  writing  a  short  note  to  Mr.  Geyer, 
being  very  hurried,  but  explain  all  of  this  to  him  and  tell  him  that 
it  is  with  great  pleasure  that  I  come  to  his  aid,  but  with  great  regret 
not  to  be  able  to  do  more.^  Moreover,  I  shall  see  Mr.  Geyer  in  the 
month  of  September  next.  My  health,  while  better,  is  not  strong, 
and  I  need  two  months  of  leave,  that  I  will  take  sometime  after 


your  return  here,  for  it  is  indispensable  that  one  of  the  two  of  us  be 

We  have  worked  very  hard,  I  don't  go  out  anymore,  all  continues 
to  be  fine,  even  very  fine,  with  our  superiors,  the  Col.  and  Mr.  Bell. 
The  revision  of  the  copy  of  the  map  took  us  26  days.  All  the  names 
are  written;  it  lacks  only  your  work  on  the  Desmoines,  and  to  finish 
the  topography.  I  will  not  change  anything  of  your  admirable  Mis- 
souri. Two  small  errors  in  your  drawing,  and  two  errors  in  the 
computations  reconciled  the  whole  business.  I  can't  tell  you  the 
chagrin  I  felt  at  first  in  destroying  the  beautiful  Piece  of  the  Mis- 
souri. Later,  what  joy!  when  I  saw  that  nothing  would  be  changed. 
The  Map  has  not  yet  come  back  from  Stone's,  and  Mr.  Scammon'' 
has  still  not  been  able  to  do  anything  on  the  topography.  But  it 
will  soon  be  here.  Don't  forget  that  I  am  counting  on  you  for  my 
Coteau  des  Prairies  and  the  Missouri  and  Mississippi  rivers.  So  come 
as  promptly  as  possible,  everyone  here  and  in  Baltimore  asks  for 
you,  even  at  Mr.  B  .  .  .  's,^  each  time  I  go  there.  The  young  ladies 
arrived  the  day  before  yesterday,  in  the  evening,  ten  days  later  than 
they  were  expected,  because  of  the  Grandma  who  died  the  moment 
when  they  were  to  start  out  to  return  to  Washington.  Everything  is 
fine,  you  are  happily  and  impatiently  awaited. 

I  am  beginning  to  enjoy  the  pleasure  of  thinking  that  you  are  at 
the  end  of  your  work,  and  that  you  have  succeeded  at  least  in  the 
main  points.  Mr.  Chouteau  will  be  glad  to  see  you  again.  He  spent 
two  weeks  here.  Have  you  gathered  any  fossils  ?  I  would  be  pleased 
if  Mr.  Geyer  could  gather  some  around  St.  Louis,  such  as  Gravel, 
Fluorspar,  with  some  specimens  of  the  rock  to  which  they  belong, 
all  labeled  in  order  of  superposition.  If  he  can  do  that  for  me,  pay, 
I  beg  you,  expenses  and  his  time  for  me.  I  would  also  like  some 
specimens  of  the  limestone  on  which  the  city  of  St.  Louis  rests, 
from  Market  Street  all  the  way  to  the  bottom  of  the  Mississippi,  if 
it's  possible.  I  need  that  to  complete  my  collection,  having  lost  part 
of  that  which  I  had  gathered  in  1837. 

You  haven't  told  me  anything  of  the  commissions  which  I  gave 
you  for  our  friend,  Dr.  Engelmann.^  Give  him  my  best,  and  tell  him 
that  I  will  bring  him  his  Barometer.  Mr.  Goebel's  [record  of]  the 
eclipse  [is  not]  necessary  to  me,  but  I  would  be  relieved  to  have  the 
local  information  that  I  asked  him  in  order  to  put  his  observatory 
on  the  map  and  to  make  his  work  known.*'  I  haven't  heard  anything 
about  that  yet.  I  am  at  the  end  of  my  paper,  I  would  Hke  to  chat 



with  you  again,  but  I  don't  recall  anything  of  importance.  If  any- 
thing comes  to  me,  I  will  write  you  again.  I  await  you  with  open 
arms  to  embrace  and  to  congratulate  you.  All  the  best, 

J.  N.  Nicollet 

Ask  our  friend  Dr.  Engelmann  to  send  the  enclosed  note  to  Mr. 

ALS,  RC  (lU — Fremont  Papers).  This  letter,  in  French,  was  presented  to 
the  University  of  Illinois  by  Allan  Nevins,  who  received  it  from  the  Fremont 
family.  Addressed,  "Lieut.  Chs.  Fremont  of  the  Topographical  Corps  St. 
Louis  (Mo.)." 

L  The  gist  of  this  passage  seems  to  be  that  botanist  Charles  A.  Geyer  is  in 
financial  difficulties,  although  it  is  not  completely  clear  whether  Nicollet  is 
lending  or  giving  him  $100.00.  Taking  Geyer  along  on  the  Des  Moines  River 
survey  seems  to  have  been  JCF's  idea.  Although  Geyer  obviously  went  for 
the  sake  of  making  plant  collections,  JCF  could  only  hire  him  as  an  engage 
and  boat  hand  (see  Doc.  No.  36)  at  $1.50  per  day. 

2.  Colonel  Abert  and  John  Bell,  who  served  briefly  as  Secretary  of  War  un- 
der President  Harrison  in  184L 

3.  Lieut.  Eliakim  Scammon  (d.  1894),  of  the  Corps  of  Topographical 

4.  The  home  of  Senator  Thomas  Hart  Benton.  The  last  sentence  in  the  para- 
graph is,  of  course,  a  veiled  reference  to  the  friendship  between  JCF  and 

5.  A  German  emigrant,  Dr.  George  Engelmann  (1809-84)  practiced  medi- 
cine in  St.  Louis  but  was  mainly  known  as  a  botanist  and  pioneer  meteorol- 
ogist. He  corrresponded  widely  with  other  scientists,  and  his  strategic  location 
at  the  edge  of  the  frontier  put  him  in  an  excellent  position  to  observe  and 
participate  in  scientific  advances  in  new  geographical  areas. 

6.  David  Goebel  (1787-1872)  had  come  to  Missouri  from  Coburg,  Ger- 
many, in  1834,  becoming  a  farmer,  teacher,  and  surveyor.  The  information 
which  Nicollet  mentions  is  apparendy  to  be  found  in  a  notebook  now  at  the 
State  Historical  Society  of  Missouri,  containing  astronomical  observations, 
barometric  pressures,  and  thermometric  readings  made  in  eastern  Missouri 
from  1840  to  1844  {Mo.  Hist.  Rev.,  35:613). 

32.  Fremont  to  Ramsay  Crooks 

Washington  City 
August  12th  1841 
My  Dear  Sir. 

Mr.  [John  F.  A.]  Sanford  has  had  the  kindness  to  take  charge  of 
a  very  interesting  collection  of  minerals  which  he  proposes  to  for- 


ward  to  us  through  you.  Mr.  Nicollet  joins  me  in  requesting  that 
you  will  have  the  kindness  to  send  it  to  the  care  of  the  Revd.  Mr. 
Raymond/  President  of  St.  Mary's  College,  Baltimore,  Md.  In  pre- 
senting his  warm  regards  to  you  Mr.  N.  desires  me  to  say  that  he 
expects  to  have  the  pleasure  of  seeing  you  about  the  20th  in  New 
York,  He  has  had  a  severe  attack  of  illness  &  his  health  is  at  present 
quite  bad.  Annexed  I  send  you  a  Draft  for  the  amt.  you  had  the 
kindness  to  advance  for  which  I  beg  leave  to  repeat  my  acknowl- 
edgements. Most  Respectfully  &  truly  Yr.  Obt.  Servt. 

J.  Ch.  Fremont 

ALS,  RC  (NHi — American  Fur  Company  Papers).  Addressed,  "Ramsay 
Crooks  Esqre.  Rear  39  Ann  St.  New  York  N.Y."  Endorsed;  reed.  14  Aug. 
and  answered  14  Aug.  Crooks'  reply  acknowledged  receipt  of  a  check  for 
$100  and  assured  JCF  that  the  minerals  would  be  sent  to  Baltimore  when  they 
arrived  (Lbk,  17:134). 

1.  Father  Gilbert  Raymond,  later  president — in  1850 — of  St.  Charles'  Col- 
lege for  boys,  fifteen  miles  from  Baltimore  (cath.  almanac). 

33.  Fremont  to  Ramsay  Crooks 

Washington  D.C.  Sepr.  15th.  1841 

Dear  Sir 

Your  esteemed  favor  of  Uth  Currt.  came  safely  to  hand  yesterday. 
I  am  quite  glad  to  receive  intelligence  of  the  Box,  respecting  which 
I  had  begun  to  feel  some  anxiety.  May  I  so  far  trespass  on  your 
kindness  as  to  beg  that  you  will  have  it  sent  to  this  place  per  Rail 
Road,  accompanied  by  Charges  ?  I  hope  you  will  excuse  the  trouble 
I  sincerely  regret  giving  &  which  I  could  not  well  avoid. 

It  gives  me  pleasure  to  hear  that  Mr.  Nicollet's  health  is  improving 
so  much.  I  trust  that  you  are  regaining  yours  as  rapidly  &  with  the 
warmest  regards  for  yourself  remain  Very  truly  &  Respectfully  Dr. 
Sir  Yours, 

J.  C.  Fremont 

ALS,  RC  (NHi — American  Fur  Company  Papers).  Addressed;  endorsed; 
reed.  19  Sept.,  answered  5  Oct.  Crooks'  letter  of  11  Sept.  advised  JCF  that 
fur  company  agents  in  New  Orleans  had  received  a  box  addressed  from  St. 
Louis,  and  were  shipping  it  on  to  New  York.  He  asked  for  instructions  about 
the  disposal  of  the  package  and  made  brief  comments  on  Nicollet's  recent 


visit  to  New  York  and  the  improved  state  of  the  scientist's  health  (Lbk, 
17:254).  On  5  Oct.,  Crooks  was  able  to  inform  JCF  that  the  box  had  arrived, 
that  it  had  been  sent  on  to  Washington,  and  that  the  charges  were  $1.25  (Lbk, 

34.  J.  J.  Abert  to  Fremont 

Bureau  to  Topographical  Engineers 
Washington,  Octr.  10th.  1841 

Your  letter  of  the  9th  inst.  has  just  been  received.  The  Resolution 
of  the  Senate,  in  reference  to  the  Map  to  which  you  allude,  places 
the  Superintendance  of  its  publication  under  this  office;  your  course 
therefore,  in  reporting  your  fears  upon  the  subject  is  correct  and  ap- 

The  work  of  the  drawing  should  long  since  have  been  removed  to 
this  office,  that  a  knowledge  of  its  progress,  as  well  as  that  of  the 
Engraver,  could  have  been  known. 

You  will  therefore,  without  delay,  remove  your  work  as  indicated, 
where  the  Engraver  will  be  sent  for,  and  the  matter  of  your  letter 
fully  enquired  into.  Very  Respectfully,  &c. 

J.  J.  Abert 
Col.  C.  T.  E. 

Lbk  (DNA-77,  LS,  5:37).  JCF's  letter  of  9  Oct.,  to  which  this  is  a  reply,  is 
not  registered  in  the  bureau's  records  and  has  not  been  found. 

35.   Ferdinand  H.  Gerdes  to  Fremont 

Washington  7  Novb.  1841 
My  dear  Mr.  Fremont. 

Your  letter  dated  Balto.  I  have  received  in  due  time,  and,  would 
not  have  delayed  my  answer  on  this  particular  occasion  for  an  hour, 
if  it  had  not  been  for  breaking  up  my  camp  and  leaving  for  Wash- 
ington. I  have  arrived  here  on  Friday  morning,  and  now  I  hasten  to 
offer  you  my  best  congratulations  and  beg  you  to  accept  my  most 


sincere  wishes  for  your  future  happiness.  Perhaps  you  have  noticed, 
Mr.  Fremont,  that  I  am  not  very  fond  of  much  and  big  talk,  but  so 
much  I  can  assure  you,  that  none  of  your  friends — (you  have  per- 
mitted me  to  class  myself  amongst  them) — feel  a  w^armer  interest 
for  you  then  I  do,  that  no  one  wishes  more  truly  and  cordial,  that  those 
expectations  of  a  blessed  domestic  happiness,  w[h]ich  you  naturally 
must  have  formed,  may  sooti  and  continually  be  realized.  I  hope  you 
will  not  think  it  to  great  a  liberty,  when  I  repeat  the  words  "soon". 
— Although  my  dear  Mr.  Fr.  I  can  not  judge  in  this  particular  case 
clearly,  yet  I  would  venture  to  say,  that  any  delay  of  an  open  decla- 
ration, w[h]ich  some  time  or  another  must  follow,  makes  your  ex- 
cuse less  well,  as  this  declaration  itself,  much  more  difficult.  Beside 
the  possibility  of  an  accidental  discovery  is  very  strong! — Why  don't 
you  go,  manly  and  open  as  you  are,  forward  and  put  things  by  a 
single  step  to  right — never  mind  in  what  this  step  consists — only  act 
now  and  you  will  soo7i  get  over  little  disturbances  w[h]ich  might 
arise  at  first.  Nothing  very  serious  can  happen  now  more  to  you — 
the  prize  is  secured  and  the  rest  will  soon  be  smoothed  by  help  of 
time  and  mutual  affection  and  love. 

If  I  am  mistaken  in  my  suggestion,  it  is  for  want  of  information, 
and  then  I  beg  to  forgive  me.  It  is  friendship  that  makes  me  write  so. 
Anyhow,  I  symp[ath]ize  with  you — and  entertain  no  fears  for  a 
fortunate  conclusion. 

I  arrived  here  on  Friday  morning  and  am  perfectly  happy  in  the 
society  of  my  lovely  girl.  I  don't  like  it  much  you  beat  me  so  de- 
cidedly, but  I  hope  now  to  follow  soon,  and  then  if  I  should  go  out 
in  Spring  again,  I  will  not  have  to  leave  her  behind  me.  I  had  no 
time  in  Balto.  to  call  on  you,  beside  I  did  not  know  your  residence 
alto'  supposing  it  be  Barnums. 

Mrs.  Cummings  and  Mary^  desire  to  be  remembered  to  you  and  I 
conclude  with  the  assurance  of  friendship  and  personal  esteem. 
Yours  very  truly, 

F.  H.  Gerdes 

When  walking  last  night  with  my  Mary  &  Mrs.  C.  we  met  Mrs.  F. 
I  had  a  glimpse  at  her,  and  thought  she  looked  very  well  and  happy. 
Excuse  all  the  blots,  neither  pen  nor  ink  are  good  for  anything. 

ALS,  RC  (CU-B — Fremont  Papers).  Addressed,  "Lieut.  J.  C.  Freemont  I 
U.S.  Topogr.  Engineers  Baltimore."  From  Baltimore  the  letter  was  forwarded  ' 
to  Charleston,  S.C. 


The  letter  requires  a  longer  note  than  its  importance  might  indicate.  It  is 
one  of  the  few  extant  personal  letters  to  JCF  in  this  period,  and  has  been 
quoted  before  (as  in  nevins,  69-70),  but  the  writer  has  not  previously  been 
identified.  His  signature  is  very  poor  and  has  usually  been  rendered  "F.  W. 
Gody."  Because  he  mentions  "breaking  up  my  camp  and  leaving  for  Wash- 
ington," it  is  not  surprising  that  he  has  been  considered  a  frontiersman  whom 
JCF  may  have  met  in  the  Mississippi  or  Missouri  valleys.  He  is  obviously  of 
JCF's  generation  and  feels  qualified  to  speak  of  such  personal  matters  as  the 
secret  marriage  of  the  Fremonts. 

The  writer's  reference  to  "Mrs.  Cummings  and  Mary"  wishing  to  be  re- 
membered to  JCF,  and  the  fact  that  he  had  been  out  walking  "with  my  Mary  & 
Mrs.  C,"  provided  the  first  lead.  The  financial  records  had  already  revealed 
that  JCF  was  renting  rooms  for  the  work  of  the  Survey  from  Mary  J.  Cum- 
mings. It  occurred  to  us  that  the  writer  of  the  letter  might  be  courting  a  girl 
named  Mary,  the  daughter  of  JCF's  landlady.  So  we  instituted  a  search  of 
marriage  records  in  the  District  of  Columbia  for  several  months  after  the 
letter  was  written,  and  found  that  on  26  May  1842  Miss  Mary  Cummings 
had  indeed  been  married — to  Ferdinand  H.  Gerdes.  And  then  the  signature 
began  to  look  like  "F.  H.  Gerdes." 

Born  in  Germany,  young  Gerdes  (1809-84)  was  an  assistant  in  the  U.S. 
Coast  and  CJeodetic  Survey.  He  was  engaged  in  primary  triangulation  in  New 
Jersey  and  Maryland,  and  in  topographical  work  on  the  Delaware  River,  be- 
tween 1841  and  1844.  And  of  course  he  would  have  had  a  further  occasion 
to  become  acquainted  with  JCF  through  his  superintendent,  F.  R.  Hassler. 
During  the  Civil  War,  Gerdes  served  on  special  duty  with  the  Gulf  Squadron 
under  Farragut,  then  did  surveying  in  western  waters.  For  an  obituary  no- 
tice, see  COAST  and  geodetic  survey,  15-16. 

JCF  and  the  seventeen-year-old  Jessie  Benton  were  married  secretly  on  19 
Oct.  1841  by  a  Catholic  priest.  Father  Van  Horseigh,  after  two  Protestant 
clergymen  had  refused  to  perform  the  ceremony.  For  Senator  Benton's  rage  on 
returning  from  a  western  trip  and  finding  the  couple  married,  and  for  his 
refusal  to  permit  a  second  marriage  by  a  Protestant  minister  as  Jessie's  mother 
wished,  see  the  letters  of  Jessie  to  Elizabeth  Blair  Lee,  23  July  [1856],  NjP — 
Blair-Lee  Papers,  and  Sarah  Simpson  (Hart)  Thompson  to  Nathaniel  Hart, 
19  Jan.  1842,  KyLoF — Edmund  T.  Halsey  Collection.  Mrs.  Simpson  writes 
that  Benton  would  not  let  Jessie  remain  in  his  house.  "The  marriage  was  pub- 
lished &  Fremont  took  his  wife  to  his  lodgings."  At  Mrs.  Benton's  request, 
intermediaries  finally  got  the  senator  to  treat  the  couple  with  "passing 


36.  Financial  Records,  1841 

[31  Dec.  1841] 
First  Quarter,  1841 

Voucher  No.  1,  Washington,  28  Feb.  1841 
U.S.  to  J.  N.  Nicollet 

For  services  rendered  as  superintendent  of  Northwestern 
Surveys  from  1  Oct.  1840  to  28  Feb.  1841,  151  days  at  8.00 
per  diem.  1208.00 

Voucher  No.  2,  Washington,  13  March  1841 
U.S.  to  A.  Shepherd 

J  ton  of  coal  delivered  6.25 

Endorsed  by  JCF:  "The  above  expenditure  was  authorized  by  the  Secretary 
of  War.  See  letter  from  Col.  J.  J.  Abert  appended  to  Voucher  No.  4."  The 
letter  is  our  Doc.  No.  26.  A.  Shepherd  advertised  in  the  Daily  National  In- 
telligencer, 1  Sept.  1841,  that  he  sold  coal,  firewood,  and  building  lumber  on 
Seventh  Street,  Washington. 

Voucher  No.  3,  Washington,  20  March  1841 
U.S.  to  Mary  J.  Cummin gs 

For  3  rooms  at  30  dollars  per  month  from  20  Nov.  1840  to  20 
March  1841.  120.00 

Endorsement  by  JCF  same  as  with  preceding  voucher. 

Voucher  No.  4,  Washington,  25  March  1841 
U.S.  to  Geo.  McDuell 

2  Nov. 

1  cord  hickory  wood  7.00 

2  cords  green  oak  11.00 
1  cord  seasoned  oak  5.50 

27  Nov. 

I  ton  coal  6.75 

28  Nov. 

I  ton  coal  6.75 

I  ton  coal  6.75 

1  cord  pine  wood  4.50 


30  Nov. 

1  cord  oak  5.50 

26  Dec. 

I  ton  coal  6.75 

28  Dec. 

1  ton  coal  6.75 
25  Jan. 

1^  tons  coal  13.50 

Sawing  and  portage  5.75 


George  McDuell  had  a  wood  and  coal  yard  "on  the  Tiber  or  Canal,"'  near 
Fourteenth  Street,  Washington. 

Voucher  No.  5,  Washington,  31  March  1841 
U.S.  to  Christopher  Kraft 

For  4  months'  attendance  upon  rooms  from  20  Nov.  1840  to 
20  March  1841,  @  10  per  month  40.00 

Christopher  Kraft,  a  servant,  not  further  identified. 

Second  Quarter,  1841 

Voucher  No.  1,  Washington,  20  May  1841 
U.S.  to  John  Hitz 

2  doz.  fillers  .25 
crucibles  of  different  sizes  and  descriptions  3.35 
iron  muflfle  supports  and  muffles  2.25 
chemical  reagents,  furnaces,  coal  and  all  the  necessary  labo- 
ratory implements  39.50 


John  Hitz,  a  Swiss  emigrant  and  formerly  employed  in  the  gold  mines  of 
Virginia,  had  been  engaged  by  Ferdinand  R.  Hassler  in  1835  to  make  the 
brass  that  was  necessary  for  the  standards  (cajori,  159). 

Voucher  No.  2,  Washington,  20  May  1841 
U.S.  to  John  Hitz 

For  services  rendered  to  the  United  States  as  assistant  to  J.  N. 
Nicollet  in  analysing  the  ores  and  minerals  of  the  North 
Western  Expedition,  for  15  days  from  3  May  to  17  May  @ 
4.00  per  day.  60.00 


Voucher  No.  3,  Baltimore,  31  May  1841 
U.S.  to  James  Green 

30  Jan. 

1  dipping  needle  apparatus,  stand  and  case  115.00 

1  magnetic  needle  2.00 

1  double  magnifier  1.50 
29  May 

repairing  mountain  barometer  7.00 

repairing  barometer  in  tripod  7.00 


Voucher  No.  4,  Washington,  31  May  1841 
U.S.  to  J.  N.  Nicollet 

For  services  rendered  the  U.S.  as  superintendent  of  North- 
western Surveys,  from  1  March  to  31  May  1841,  92  days  @ 
8.00  per  day.  736.00 

Voucher  No.  5,  Baltimore,  8  ]une  1841 
U.S.  to  James  Green 

1  June 

1^  lbs.  mercury  3.00 

1  thermometer  2.00 

1  compass  2.50 


Voucher  No.  6,  Washington,  7  June  1841 
U.S.  to  William  Fischer 

31  May 

6  sheets  antiquarian  for  engraving  maps  6.00 

4  June 

4  sheets  antiquarian  for  same  4.00 


Voucher  No.  7,  Washington,  21  June  1841 
U.S.  to  Dinnies  &  Radford 

2  blank  books,  quarto  2.00 
1  blank  book  .50 
1  penknife  .50 


6  lead  pencils  .62 

1  paper  ink  powder  .12 


This  voucher  was  probably  drawn   in   St.  Louis,  not  Washington,  where 
Dinnies  and  Radford  offered  books,  stationery,  and  pianos  for  sale. 

Voucher  No.  8,  St.  Louis,  22  July  1841 
U.S.  to  Steamboat  Monsoon 

For  2  sick  passengers  4.00 

Endorsed  by  JCF:   "I  certify  that  the  two  men  for  whom   transportation 
was  paid  as  above  were  in  the  service  of  the  United  States." 

Voucher  No.  9,  St.  Louis,  23  June  1841 
U.S.  to  Edward  Ploudre 

1  gray  horse  sixteen  hands  high  75.00 

Edward  Ploudre  not  identified. 

Voucher  No.  10,  St.  Louis,  23  June  1841 
U.S.  to  Jacob  Kenner 

For  making  1  box  to  serve  as  case  for  mercurial  horizon  1.62 

repairing  gun  .75 

making  box  for  geological  specimens  .75 


Jacob  Kenner  not  identified. 

Voucher  No.  11,  St.  Louis,  23  June  1841 
U.S.  to  J.  J.  Humbert 

1  mosquito  bar  9.00 

John    J.   Humbert,  upholsterer,  born  in  Frankfurt-am-Main  and  living  in 
St.  Louis  by  1836  (van  ravenswaay). 

Voucher  No.  12,  St.  Louis,  23  June  1841 
U.S.  to  Adolphus  Meier 

21  June 

1  measuring  tape  2.50 

\  doz.  knives  and  forks  .75 

^  doz.  iron  tablespoons  .44 


1  axe  and  handle,  1  hatchet  3.25 

1  frying  pan,  1  teakettle  1.75 

2  [.  .  .]  1.25 
2  [.  .  .]  .37 
1  tin  lanthorn  .50 
4  cups  .25 
1  wash  basin  .50 
4  tin  plates  .50 
1  screwdriver  .25 
1  box  .50 
Drayage  .50 


Adolphus  Meier  &  Co.,  importer  of  hardware  and  cudery,  guns,  pistols,  and 
looking  glasses,  23  Main  Street,  St.  Louis. 

Voucher  No.  13,  St.  Louis,  23  June  1841 
U.S.  to  Angelrodt,  Eggers  &  Barth 

6  lbs.  sperm  candles  3.00 

25  lbs.  coffee  3.75 

4  lbs  Imp.  tea  5.00 

2j  lbs.  soap  .25 

16  lbs.  sugar  2.91 

50  lbs.  rice  3.25 

1  can  rifle  powder  1.00 

I  barrel  crackers  2.50 

34  lbs.  chewing  tobacco  8.50 

4  lbs.  chocolate  1.00 

1  box  .25 

6  boxes  matches  .19 

1  ream  paper  2.75 


Angelrodt,  Eggers,  and  Barth,  165  Main  Street,  St.  Louis,  were  importers 
and  dealers  in  groceries,  liquors,  wines,  and  cigars. 

Voucher  No.  14,  St.  Louis,  25  June  1841 
U.S.  to  Jaccard  &  Co, 

cleaning  and  repairing  chronometer  5.00 

1  card  steel  pens  1.00 



Voucher  No.  15,  St.  Louis,  25  ]une  1841 
U.S.  to  Grimsley  &  Young 

1  Spanish  saddle  7.00 

1  fine  bridle  4.50 

1  martingale  1.00 


Voucher  No.  16,  St.  Louis,  25  June  1841 
U.S.  to  B.  W.  Ayres 

Keeping  1  horse  2  days,  23  to  25  June,  @  500  per  diem  1.00 

B.  W.  Ayres  kept  the  Green  Tree  Tavern  at  68  Second,  St.  Louis. 

Voucher  No.  17,  St.  Louis,  25  June  1841 
U.S.  to  Grimsley  &  Young 

3  side  hobbles  2.25 

Voucher  No.  18,  St.  Louis,  25  June  1841 
U.S.  to  Jacob  Blattner 

1  spyglass  made  by  Franzenhofer,  Munich  50.00 

Jacob  Blattner  made  and  sold  an  assortment  of  mathematical,  optical,  and 
physical  instruments.  In  1841,  he  moved  his  establishment  from  Chestnut  to 
34  Olive  Street,  St.  Louis. 

Voucher  No.  19,  Churchville,  Mo.,  26  June  1841 
U.S.  to  Steamboat  Monsoon 

Passage  for  one  from  St.  Louis  to  Churchville  5.00 

2  deck  passages  for  Chas.  A.  Geyer  and  C,  Lambert  [  ?]  4.00 
Freight  on  8  packages  merchandise  .75 


For  a  note  on  Clement  Lambert,  see  under  voucher  no.  3,  third  quarter, 

Voucher  No.  20,  Washington,  5  June  1841 
U.S.  to  Polkjnhorn  &  Campbell 

1  leather  cover  for  sextant  3.50 

Polkinhorn  and  Campbell  are  listed  as  harness  and  trunk  makers  in  the 
Washington  directory  for  1843. 


Voucher  No.  21,  Washingto?j,  20  June  1841 
U.S.  to  Jane  Cummin gs 

Hire  of  3  rooms  and  servant  to  attend  same  at  40.00  per 
month  for  3  months,  20  March  to  20  June  1841  120.00 

Third  Quarter,  1841 

Voucher  No.  1,  Churchville ,  Mo.,  20  July  1841 
U.S.  to  L.  B.  Mitchell 

For  furnishing  a  wagon,  2  mules  and  driver  for  transporta- 
tion of  party  engaged  in  the  Survey  of  the  Des  Moines 
River,  from  Churchville,  Mo.,  to  the  trading  post  of  the 
American  Fur  Co.  in  the  Sac  and  Fox  Indian  country.  34.93 

For  additional  transportation  of  two  men  between  same 
places  who  were  likewise  engaged  in  same  Survey.  20.00 


Endorsed  by  JCF:  "In  both  cases  a  customary  allowance  was  made  to  defray 
expenses  of  wagon,  horses,  &c.  during  their  return  from  the  trading  post."  A 
man  named  L.  B.  Mitchell  crossed  the  plains  to  California  in  1850  in  com- 
pany with  A.  W.  Harlan,  who  was  emigrating  from  southeast  Iowa  (harlan). 

Voucher  No.  2,  Churchville,  Mo.,  21  July  1841 
U.S.  to  Packesayso  {SauJ{  Indian) 

For  services  as  boatman  for  21  days  from  4  July  to  24  July 
1841  @  .75  per  diem  15.75 

Signed  with  Packesayso's  mark;  no  witness. 

Voucher  No.  3,  St.  Louis,  23,  July  1841 
U.S.  to  Clement  Lambert 

For  services  to  the  U.S.  as  engage  on  the  Survey  of  the  Des 
Moines  River,  33  days  @  1.75  per  diem,  23  June  to  22  July 
1841  52.50 

For  extra  duty  as  cook  for  the  party  @  500  per  diem,  3  July 
to  20  July  _8^ 


After  serving  JCF  as  engage  and  cook  on  the  Des  Moines  River  survey, 
Clement  Lambert  served  on  the  1842  expedition  as  a  camp  conductor;  in  1845, 


he  aided  in  preparations  for  JCF's  third  western  expedition  but  did  not  ac- 
company it.  Well  known  as  a  mountaineer  and  guide,  he  was  about  seventy- 
four  when  he  died  in  Decatur  City,  Nebr.  See  his  obituary  in  the  St.  Louis 
Missouri  Republican,  8  March  1880. 

Voucher  No.  4,  St.  Louis,  23  July  1841 
U.S.  to  P.  Chouteau,  Jr.,  and  Company 

22  June 

1  pair  4-pt.  blue  blankets  furnished  to  Lt.  J.  C.  Fremont  on 
his  expedition  to  the  Des  Moines  River  12.50 

Voucher  No.  5,  St.  Louis,  24  July  1841 
U.S.  to  P.  Chouteau,  Jr.,  and  Company 

For  the  following  articles  furnished  to  Lt.  Fremont  for  ex- 
pedition to  the  Des  Moines  River: 

8  lbs.  shot  1.00, 1  lb.  pov^^der  1.63,  salt  250  2.88 

36^  yds.  bed  ticking  13.69,  2  tin  pans  1.25,  2  same  500  15.44 

Tin  cups,  tin  kettle,  fire  steel  .67 

{illegible^  6.12 

8^  lbs.  lead  1.06,  1  barrel  flour  8.00  9.06 

65  lbs.  flour  2.60,  139  lbs.  pork  15.90  18.50 

paid  for  making  tent  4.50 

1  dressed  skin  1.00,  1  bear  skin  2.00  3.00 

18  lbs.  lard  2.25, 1  canoe  10.00  12.25 

18  days  use  of  a  mule  18.00,  18  days  use  of  v^^agon  5.00                 23.00 

5  lbs.  sugar  (iM,  20  lbs.  flour  800,  8  lbs.  lard  1.00  2.43 

transportation  of  party  from  mouth  of  the  Des  Moines  to 

Sauk  and  Fox  village  10.00 

paid  Lt.  Fremont  25.00 
hire  of  the  following  men : 

Packesayso  11.00 

Cameron  for  self  &  horse  20.00 

Vessar  [Vauchard?]  for  services  as  pilot  36.00 

A.  Netherson  [.?]  24.00 


Filed  with  voucher  no.  24  is  a  memorandum  of  22  Feb.  1842  from  JCF, 
explaining  the  lack  of  subvouchers  for  some  of  his  expenditures  and  detailing 
once  more  his  relationship  with  the  American  Fur  Company  through  Pierre 
Chouteau,  Jr.  The  memorandum  is  in  Jessie  Benton  Fremont's  hand,  but 
signed  by  JCF.  "The  funds  to  defray  the  expenses  of  the  Des  Moines  survey 


were  deposited  as  usual  in  the  Bank  at  St.  Louis,  &  on  leaving  that  place  for 
the  Des  Moines  river,  I  was  furnished  by  the  house  of  Chouteau  &  Co.  with 
letters  to  the  agent  in  the  Indian  country  requesting  him  to  furnish  me  with 
men  &  other  necessaries.  On  my  return  to  St.  Louis  at  the  close  of  the  Survey, 
payment  was  made  for  the  assistance  obtained  in  men  &  provisions  above,  to 
the  house  of  Chouteau  &  Co.,  &  a  voucher  taken  accordingly.  .  .  ."  The  men 
named  in  the  voucher  are  not  further  identified,  though  it  is  clear  that  "Vessar" 
operated  the  trading  house  on  the  Des  Moines  which  JCF  mentions  in  his 
report  (our  Doc.  No.  37).  Two  brothers  who  were  traders,  Louis  and  Charles 
Vauchard,  are  frequently  mentioned  in  the  David  Adams  Papers,  MoSHi. 

Voucher  No.  6,  St.  Louis,  24  July  1841 
U.S.  to  Charles  A.  Geyer 

For  services  rendered  the  U.S.  as  an  engage  and  boat  hand 
on  the  Survey  of  the  Des  Moines  River  from  22  June  to  22 
July,  31  days  @  1.50  per  diem.  46.50 

To  amount  expended  in  purchase  of  provisions  for  party  dur- 
ing march  from  Churchville,  Mo.,  to  the  Indian  agency  on 
the  Des  Moines  1-50 


Voucher  No.  7,  Washington,  19  Aug.  1841 
U.S.  to  f.  N.  Nicollet 

For  services  rendered  the  U.S.  as  superintendent  of  North 
Western  Surveys,  from  1  to  31  July  1841,  31  days  @  8.00 
per  diem  248.00 

Voucher  No.  8,  Washington,  19  Aug.  1841 
U.S.  to  J.  N.  Nicollet 

For  services  rendered  the  U.S.  as  superintendent  of  North 
Western  Surveys,  from  1  to  30  June  1841,  30  days  @  8.00 
per  diem  240.00 

Voucher  No.  9,  Washington,  20  Sept.  1841 
U.S.  to  Jane  Cummin gs 

To  hire  of  3  rooms  and  servant  at  40  per  month,  3  months 
from  20  June  to  20  Sept.  1841  120.00 

Endorsed  by  J.  J.  Abert  with  the  explanation  that  Secretary  of  War  Poinsett 
had  approved  the  hire  of  the  rooms. 


Fourth  Quarter,  1841 

Voucher  No.  1,  Springfield,  Mass.,  22  Oct.  1841 
U.S.  to  Wm.  Bond  &  Son 

For  a  new  detent  spring,  new  ruby  pellet,  adjusting  and 
cleaning  a  silver  pocket  chronometer  20.00 

Voucher  taken  by  Capt.  W.  H.  Swift,  Corps  of  Topographical  Engineers, 
who  was  then  paid  by  JCF.  A  manuscript  business  directory  of  Springfield 
for  1820-53,  in  the  possession  of  the  Springfield  Library  and  Museums  As- 
sociation, shows  no  listing  for  William  Bond  &  Son.  We  cannot  connect  this 
firm  with  William  Cranch  Bond  (1789-1859),  who  had  a  private  observatory 
in  Dorchester,  Mass.,  before  moving  to  Cambridge  in  1839  to  establish  the 
Harvard  Observatory. 

Voucher  No.  2,  Washington,  20  Oct.  1841 
U.S.  to  A.  D.  Melcher 

To  taking  down,  repairing,  and  moving  drawing  table  2.70 

A.  D.  Melcher  not  identified. 

Voucher  No.  3,  Washington,  13  Dec.  1841 
U.S.  to  J.  N.  Nicollet 

For  services  rendered  to  the  U.S.  as  superintendent  of  Sur- 
veys West  of  the  Mississippi  from  1  Aug.  to  30  Nov,  1841, 
122  days  @  8.00  per  diem  976.00 

Voucher  No.  4,  Washington,  13  Dec.  1841 
U.S.  to  ].  N.  Nicollet 

For  traveling  expenses  incurred  in  the  following  journey, 

performed  under  the  direction  of  the  Secretary  of  War: 

From  Washington  to  New  York,  225  mi.  22.50 

To  Albany,  151  mi.  15.10 

To  Oswego  via  Syracuse,  172  mi.  17.20 

To  Kingston  and  return,  120  mi.  12.00 

To  Niagara,  120  mi.  12.00 

To  Buffalo,  26  mi.  2.60 

To  Chicago  round  the  northern  lake,  1000  mi.  100.00 
Exploration  of  the  south  end  of  Lake  Michigan  and  return 

to  Chicago,  325  mi.  32.50 

Chicago  and  Illinois  Canal  to  Peru,  102  mi.  10.20 


Exploration  of  the  Illinois  coal  region,  415  mi.  41.50 
From  Peru  to  St.  Louis,  400  mi.  40.00 
Exploration  of  the  American  Bottom  and  shale  mineral  re- 
gion in  the  state  of  Missouri,  380  mi.  38.00 
From  Meramec  to  White  River  on  the  Mississippi,  624  mi.  62.40 
To  the  mouth  of  Ohio  River,  462  mi.  46.20 
To  Wheeling,  887  mi.  88.70 
To  Washington,  264  mi.  26.40 


Endorsement  by  Albert  M.  Lea:  "It  appears  that  there  was  no  written 
authority  or  orders  given  to  Mr.  Nicollet  for  the  travelling  charged  for  in  the 
within  account,  and  it  has  been  submitted  to  me,  as  the  late  Chief  Clerk  of  the 
War  Department,  for  a  statement  of  the  intentions  or  directions  of  the  late 
Secretary  of  War  on  the  subject.  A  representation  made  to  the  Secretary  of 
War  that  Mr.  Nicollet's  duties  would  not  necessarily  require  his  presence  in 
the  city  during  the  Autumn  of  1841,  and  that  it  was  important  to  the  com- 
pleteness of  the  work  then  under  preparation  by  him,  the  Secretary  in  per- 
son and  through  me  directed  Mr.  Nicollet  to  perform  a  tour  of  observation 
and  exploration.  ...  It  was  intended  by  the  Secretary  at  the  time  that  all  Mr. 
Nicollet's  necessary  expenses  should  be  paid  by  the  government.  .  .  .  Wash- 
ington, D.C.,  Feby.  21,  1842." 

Albert  M.  Lea,  mentioned  briefly  in  our  note  for  Doc.  No.  30,  served  for 
a  time  as  chief  clerk  of  the  War  Department  under  Secretary  John  Bell,  and 
was  also  Acting  Secretary  for  six  weeks  under  President  Tyler. 

Voucher  No.  5,  Baltimore,  18  Dec.  1841 
U.S.  to  Auguste  Richard 

1  Buquet's  [}]  chronometer  320.00 

Auguste  Richard  was  a  watchmaker  on  Fayette  Street,  Baltimore,  in  1842; 
by  1850  his  name  had  disappeared  from  the  directories. 

Voucher  No.  6,  Washington,  24  Dec.  1841 
U.S.  to  Lemuel  Williams 

To  making  slat  for  drawing  table  1.00 

Lemuel  Williams  not  identified. 

Voucher  No.  7 ,  Washington,  10  Jan.  1842 
U.S.  to  J.  N.  Nicollet 

For  services  to  the  U.S.  as  superintendent  of  Surveys  West 
of  the  Mississippi,  for  31  days,  1  Dec.  to  31  Dec.  1841,  @ 
8.00  per  diem  248.00 


Voucher  No.  8,  Washifigton,  9  Oct.  1841 
U.S.  to  Baltimore  &  Ohio  Railroad 

For  transportation  and  charges  on  the  box  containing  geo- 
logical specimens  from  the  Des  Moines  River,  from  Balti- 
more to  Washington.  .75 

Charges  paid  in  Baltimore  2.62 

The  vouchers  presented  above  are  in  DNA-217,  Third  Auditor's  Reports 
and  Accounts,  Acct.  Nos.  12245,  13327,  and  14900. 

37.  Fremont  to  J.  J.  Abert 

Washington  City  D.C.  April  14th  1842 


Herewith  I  have  the  honor  to  enclose  a  brief  Report,  accompanied 
by  a  Map,^  of  the  Survey  of  the  Des  Moines  river,  from  the  Racoon 
Fork  to  the  mouth,  made  conformably  to  your  directions  in  July 
1841.  Very  respectfully  Sir  your  Obdt.  Servt. 

J.  C.  Fremont 
2d  Lieut.  Topi.  Engineers 


In  pursuance  of  orders  received  at  this  city  in  June  1841,  I  left  on 
the  27th  of  the  same  month  the  small  settlement  of  Churchville,"  on 
the  west  Bank  of  the  Mississippi,  a  few  hundred  yards  below  the 
mouth  of  the  Des  Moines  river.  The  road  for  about  nine  miles  lay 
over  a  luxuriant  prairie  bottom,  bordered  by  the  timber  of  the  Fox 
&  Des  Moines  Rivers,^  &  covered  with  a  profusion  of  flowers,  among 
which  the  characteristic  plant  was  Psoralia  Orobrychis  [scurf  pea]. 
Ascending  the  Bluffs  &  passing  about  two  miles  through  a  wood 
where  the  prevailing  growth  was  Quercus  nigra  mixed  with  im- 
bricaria  [Q.  marilandica,  black  jack  oak,  and  Q.  imbricaria,  shingle 
oak],  we  emerged  on  a  narrow  level  prairie,  occupying  the  summit 
of  the  ridge  between  the  Fox  &  Des  Moines  rivers.  It  is  from  one  and 
a  half  miles  to  three  miles  in  width,  limited  by  the  timber  which 
generally  commences  with  the  descent  of  the  river  hills.  Journeying 


along  this,  the  remainder  of  the  day  &  the  next  brought  us  at  eve- 
ning to  a  Farm  house  on  the  verge  of  the  prairie  about  two  miles  &  a 
half  from  Chiquest  [Chequest]  Creek.  The  route  next  morning  led 
among,  or  rather  over  the  river  hills,  which  were  broken,  wooded  & 
filled  with  the  delicate  fragrance  of  the  Ceanothus  [redroot],  which 
grew  here  in  great  quantities.  Crossing  Chiquest  about  four  miles 
from  the  mouth,  we  forded  the  Des  Moines  at  the  little  town,  Port- 
land, about  ten  miles  above  the  mouth  of  the  creek.  The  road  now 
led  along  the  northern  bank,  which  was  fragrant  &  white  with  elder 
[Sambucus  canadensis  L.]  &  a  ride  of  about  twelve  miles  brought  us 
to  the  little  village  of  lowaville,  lying  on  the  line  which  separates  the 
Indian  lands  from  those  to  which  their  title  has  already  been  extin- 
guished. After  leaving  this  place  we  began  to  fall  in  with  parties  of 
Indians  on  horseback,  &  here  and  there  scattered  along  the  river 
bank,  under  tents  of  blankets  stretched  along  the  boughs,  were  In- 
dian families,  the  men  lying  about  smoking  &  the  women  engaged 
in  making  baskets  &  cooking — apparently  as  much  at  home  as  if 
they  had  spent  their  lives  on  the  spot.  Late  in  the  evening  we  arrived 
at  the  Post  of  Mr.  Phelps,  one  of  the  partners  of  the  American  Fur 
Company.^  Up  to  this  point  there  are  three  plants  which  more  es- 
pecially characterize  the  Prairies  &  which  were  all  in  their  places 
very  abundant.  The  Psoralia  Orobrychis,  which  prevailed  in  the  bot- 
tom near  the  mouth  of  the  Des  Moines,  gave  place  on  the  higher 
prairies  to  a  species  of  casalia,''  which  was  followed,  on  its  disappear- 
ance farther  up,  by  Parthenium  integrifolium.  The  Prairie  bottoms 
bordering  the  river  were  filled  with  Lyatris  pycnostachya  &  a  few 
miles  above  Portland,  on  the  north  Bank  of  the  river,  were  quanti- 
ties of  Liatris  resinosa  mingled  with  Rudbackia  digitata. 

On  the  Bluflfs  here  the  growth  was  principally  Quercus  alba,  inter- 
spersed with  tunctoria  &  macrocarpa  &  sometimes  carya  alba.  All 
these  now  and  then  appear  in  the  bottoms,  with  carya  oliveformis 
&  Tilia.  Ulmus  americana  &  fulvia,  Betula  rubra  with  ostrya  virgi- 
nica  &  Gymnocladus  canadensis  are  found  on  the  bottom  land  of  the 
creeks.  Populus  canadensis  &  Salix  form  groves  in  the  inundated 
river  bottoms,  &  the  Celtis  occidentalis  is  found  every  where. 

Having  been  furnished  with  a  guide  &  other  necessaries  by  the 
uniform  kindness  of  the  American  Fur  Company,  we  resumed  our 
journey  on  the  morning  of  the  first  of  July  &  late  in  the  evening 
reached  the  house  of  Mr.  Jameson,*'  another  of  the  Company's  Posts, 


about  twenty  miles  higher  up.  Making  here  the  necessary  prepara- 
tions, I  commenced  on  the  morning  of  the  third,  a  survey  of  the 
river  valley. 

A  canoe  with  Instruments  &  Provisions  &  manned  by  five  men, 
proceeded  up  the  river  while  in  conformity  to  Instructions  which 
directed  my  attention  more  particularly  to  the  Topography  of  the 
Southern  side,  I  forded  the  river  &  proceeded  by  land.  The  char- 
acter of  the  river  rendered  the  progress  of  the  boat  necessarily 
slow  &  enabled  me  generally  to  join  them  at  night,  after  having 
made  during  the  day  a  satisfactory  examination  of  the  neighbouring 
country.  Proceeding  in  this  way  we  reached  the  Racoon  Fork  '  on 
the  evening  of  the  ninth  of  July.  I  had  found  the  whole  region 
densely  &  luxuriantly  timbered.  From  Mule  Creek  to  the  Eastward 
as  far  as  Chiquest  the  forests  extend  with  only  the  interruption  of  a 
narrow  prairie  between  the  latter  &  Soap  Creek.  The  most  open 
country  is  on  the  uplands  bordering  Cedar  River,  which  consists  of 
a  prairie  with  a  rich  soil,  covered  with  the  usual  innumerable  flowers 
&  copses  of  hazel  &  wild  plum.  This  prairie  extends  from  the  mouth 
of  Cedar  river  to  the  top  of  the  Missouri  dividing  ridge,  which  is 
here  at  its  nearest  approach  to  the  Des  Moines  river,  the  timber  of  the 
Chariton  or  Southern  Slope,  being  not  more  than  twelve  miles  dis- 
tant. From  this  point  to  the  Racoon  Fork  the  country  is  covered  with 
heavy  &  dense  bodies  of  timber,  with  a  luxuriant  soil  &  almost  im- 
penetrable undergrowth. 

Acer  saccharinum  of  an  extraordinary  size,  Juglans  cathartica,  & 
nigra,  with  Celtis  crassifolia,^  were  among  the  prevailing  growth, 
flourishing  as  well  on  the  broken  slopes  of  the  bluffs  as  on  the  up- 
lands. With  the  occasional  exception  of  a  small  prairie  shut  up  in 
the  forests,  the  only  open  land  is  between  the  main  tributaries  of  the 
Des  Moines,  towards  which  narrow  strips  of  prairie  run  down  from 
the  main  ridge.  The  heaviest  bodies  lie  on  the  three  rivers  where  it 
extends  out  to  the  top  of  the  main  ridge,  about  thirty  miles.  On  the 
northern  side  of  the  Des  Moines  the  ridge  appeared  to  be  continuously 
wooded,  but  with  a  breadth  of  only  three  to  five  miles  as  the  streams 
on  that  side  are  all  short  creeks.  A  very  correct  idea  of  the  relative 
quantity  &  disposition  of  Forest  land  &  Prairie  will  be  conveyed  by 
the  rough  sketch  annexed  [not  printed]. 

Having  determined  the  position  of  the  Racoon  Fork,  which  was 
one  of  the  principal  objects  of  my  visit  to  this  country,  I  proceeded 


to  make  a  survey  of  the  Des  Moines  river  thence,  to  the  mouth.  In 
the  course  of  the  survey  which  occupied  me  until  the  twenty  second 
of  July,  I  was  enabled  to  fix  four  additional  astronomical  positions, 
which  I  should  have  preferred  had  time  permitted,  to  place  at  the 
mouth  of  the  principal  tributaries. 

From  the  Racoon  fork,  to  its  mouth,  the  Des  Moines  winds  a  cir- 
cuitous length  of  two  hundred  &  three  miles  through  the  level  &  rich 
alluvium  of  a  valley  a  hundred  &  forty  miles  long  &  varying  in 
breadth  from  one  to  three  &  sometimes  four  miles. 

Along  its  whole  course  are  strips  of  dense  wood,  alternate  with 
rich  prairies  entirely  beyond  the  reach  of  the  highest  waters,  which 
seldom  rise  more  than  eight  feet  above  the  low  stage.  Acer  eriocar- 
pum  ^  which  is  found  on  the  banks  of  such  rivers  as  have  a  gravelly 
bed,  is  seen  almost  constantly  along  the  shore,  next  to  the  salix  and 
populus  canadensis,  which  border  the  water's  edge. 

The  bed  of  the  river  is  sand  &  gravel  &  sometimes  rock,  of  which 
the  rapids  generally  consist.  All  of  these  which  presented  themselves, 
deserving  the  name,  will  be  found  noted  on  the  accompanying  map 
&  two  of  the  more  important  are  represented  on  a  large  scale.  After 
these,  the  most  considerable  rapid  above  the  Great  Bend  is  at  the 
head  of  the  island  above  Keokuck's  village.  The  bend  in  the  river 
here  is  very  sharp,  the  water  swift,  with  a  fall  of  about  one  foot,  &  a 
bottom  of  loose  rocks  with  a  depth  of  two  feet  at  the  lowest  stage. 
At  the  mouth  of  Tohlman's  creek^*^  is  a  rocky  rapid  used  as  a  ford, 
whose  depth  at  low  water  is  only  one  foot.  The  rapid  of  the  Great 
Bend,^^  ^  miles  below  Chiquest  creek  has  a  fall  of  twelve  inches  & 
so  far  as  I  could  ascertain  had  formerly  a  depth  of  eighteen  inches 
at  low  water.  A  Dam  has  been  built  at  this  place  &  the  river  passes 
through  an  opening  of  about  forty  feet.  Another  dam  has  been  built 
at  a  rapid  twelve  miles  lower  down,  where  the  river  is  six  hundred 
&  fifty  feet  wide.  The  fall,  which  I  had  no  means  to  ascertain  cor- 
rectly was  represented  to  me  as  slight,  with  a  depth  of  eighteen 
inches  at  lowest  water.  Four  &  a  half  miles  lower  down,  at  Farming- 
ton,^"  another  dam  &  mill  are  in  course  of  construction,  but  the  rapid 
here  is  inconsiderable  &  the  low  water  depth  greater  than  at  the 
other  two. 

I  regret  that  I  had  neither  the  time  nor  the  Instruments  requisite, 
to  determine  accurately,  the  velocity  &  fall  of  the  river,  which  I  esti- 
mated at  six  inches  per  mile  making  a  total  fall  of  about  one  hun- 
dred feet  from  the  Racoon  to  the  mouth.  It  is  three  hundred  &  fifty 


feet  wide  between  the  perpendicular  banks  at  the  mouth  of  the  Ra- 
coon, from  which  it  receives  about  one  third  its  supply  of  water  & 
which  is  two  hundred  feet  wide  a  little  above  the  mouth.  Its  width 
increases  very  regularly  to  over  six  hundred  feet  at  Mr.  Phelp's  post, 
between  which,  &  seven  hundred  feet  it  varies  until  it  enters  the 
Mississippi  bottom  near  Francisville^^  where  it  becomes  somewhat 
narrower  &  deeper.  At  the  time  of  my  visit,  the  water  was  at  one  of 
its  lowest  stages,  &  at  the  shallowest  place  above  Cedar  river,  known 
as  such  to  the  Fur  Company  boatmen,  I  found  a  depth  of  twenty 
inches.  The  principal  difficulties  in  the  navigation,  more  especially 
above  the  Cedar  consist  in  the  sand-bars.  These,  which  are  very 
variable  in  position,  sometimes  extend  entirely  across  the  river  &  often 
terminate  abruptly,  changing  from  a  depth  of  a  few  inches,  to  eight  & 
twelve  feet.  From  my  own  observations,  joined  to  the  information 
obtained  from  Mr.  Phelps  who  has  resided  about  twenty  years  on 
this  river  &  who  has  kept  boats  upon  it  constantly  during  that  period,  I 
am  enabled  to  present  the  following,  relative  to  the  navigation,  as 
data  that  may  be  relied  upon. 

Steamboats  drawing  four  feet  water,  may  run  to  the  mouth  of 
Cedar  river  from  the  1st  of  April  to  the  middle  of  June,  &  keel  boats 
drawing  two  feet,  from  the  20th  of  March  to  the  1st  of  July,  &  those 
drawing  twenty  inches  again  from  the  middle  of  October  to  the  20th 
of  November.  Mr.  Phelps  ran  a  Mississippi  Steamer  to  his  post,  a  dis- 
tance of  eighty-seven  miles  from  the  mouth,  &  a  company  are  now 
engaged  in  building  one  to  navigate  the  river.  From  these  observa- 
tions it  will  be  seen  that  this  river  is  highly  susceptible  of  improve- 
ment, presenting  no  where  any  obstacles  that  would  not  yield  read- 
ily &  at  slight  expense.  The  removal  of  loose  stone  at  some  points,  & 
the  construction  of  artificial  banks  at  some  few  others,  to  destroy 
the  abrupt  bends,  would  be  all  that  is  required.  The  variable  nature 
of  the  bed  &  the  velocity  of  the  current  would  keep  the  channel 
constantly  clear. 

The  Botany  &  Geology  of  the  region  visited,  occupied  a  consider- 
able share  of  my  attention.  Should  it  be  required  by  the  Bureau  these 
may  form  the  subject  of  a  separate  report.  In  this  I  have  noticed  the 
prevailing  growth  &  characteristic  plants,  &  those  places  at  which 
coal  beds  presented  themselves  will  be  found  noted  on  the  map. 
Very  Respectfully  Sir  Your  Obdt.  Servt. 

J.  C.  Fremont. 
2d.  Lt.  Topi.  Engineers. 


Table  of  Distances. 

Miles     Miles 
















From  Racoon  Fork  to  Upper  3  Rivers  [North  R.] 
Upper  3  Rivers  to  Middle  3  Rivers  [Middle  R.] 
Middle  3  Rivers  to  Lowest  3  Rivers  [South  R.] 
Lowest  3  Rivers  to  Red  Rock  Rapids 
Red  Rock  Rapids  to  White  Breast  River 

[White  Breast  Creek] 
White  Breast  River  to  Eagle  Nest  Rapids 
Eagle  Nest  Rapids  to  English  River^'* 
English  River  to  Cedar  River  [Cedar  Creek] 
Cedar  River  to  Vessar's  Trading  House, 

A.  F.  C.  17  94 

Vessar's  Trading  house,  A.F.C.  to  Phelp's 

Trading  House,  A.F.C.  22  116 

Phelps  T,  H.,  A.F.C.  to  Soap  Creek 
Soap  Creek  to  Shoal  Creek  [Lick  Creek] 
Shoal  Creek  to  Dam  at  Rapid  of  the 

Great  Bend 
Dam  at  Rapid  of  the  Great  Bend  to 

Second  Dam 
Second  Dam  to  Indian  Creek 
Indian  Creek  to  Sweet  Home  [  ?  ] 
Sweet  home  to  [St.]  Francisville  landing 
Francisville's  landing  to  Sugar  or 

Half  breed  Creek 
Half  Breed  Creek  to  the  Mouth 

ALS-JBF,  RC  (DNA-77,  LR).  Now  that  John  and  Jessie  are  married,  the 
phrase  "autograph  letter,  signed"  becomes  a  rather  vague  term.  Jessie  now 
begins  the  lifetime  task  of  writing  nearly  all  of  JCF's  letters;  she  does  not 
hesitate  to  sign  them  "J.  C.  FVemont"  and  let  the  recipient  assume  they  are 
in  her  husband's  hand.  She  will  even  certify  Army  vouchers,  at  a  later  time, 
and  sign  his  name  to  the  certification.  Our  solution  is  to  coin  a  symbol,  ALS- 
JBF,  meaning  a  letter  purportedly  written  and  signed  by  JCF  but  actually 
produced  in  its  entirety  by  Jessie  Benton  Fremont.  Where  variants  are  signifi- 
cant, they  will  be  noted. 

1.  JCF  is  referring  to  the  large  map  drawn  to  a  scale  of  1:200,000  and 
labeled,  "A  Survey  of  the  Des  Moines  River  from  the  Racoon  Fork  to  the 
Mouth  Made  in  July  1841  by  Lieut.  J.  C.  Fremont,  Corps  Topi.  Engineers." 
The  original  is  in  the  cartographic  records  of  DNA-77,  designated  as  map 
Q7-1.  It  is  not  reproduced  here. 

2.  A  village  no  longer  extant,  between  Alexandria,  Mo.,  and  Keokuk,  Iowa. 




















3.  The  Fox  enters  the  Mississippi  from  the  west,  just  below  the  Des  Moines. 
The  Des  Moines  is  a  major  river,  draining  a  large  portion  of  the  state  of 
Iowa  and  entering  the  Mississippi  below  Keokuk,  Iowa.  All  of  JCF's  survey 
was  made  in  the  state  of  Iowa. 

4.  A  trading  house  near  the  Indian  village  headed  by  Keokuk,  titular 
leader  of  the  Sauk  and  Fox  tribes.  William  Phelps  was  in  charge  of  this  one, 
and  his  brother  Sumner  had  a  similar  establishment  in  Kansas.  For  Indian 
complaints  against  William,  and  against  P.  Chouteau,  Jr.,  and  Company,  see 
Annals  of  Iowa,  ser.  3,  15:256-57.  Listed  as  residing  in  Clark  County,  Mo., 
he  was  one  of  the  creditors  of  the  confederated  Sauk  and  Fox  tribes  at  a  treaty 
signed  with  the  Indians  11  Oct.  1842  (ibid.,  12:335-81). 

5.  Cacalia  tuberosa,  Indian  plantain.  }CF  adopted  tree  names  from  Michaux, 
North  American  Sylva.  Other  plants  mentioned  in  this  paragraph  and 
the  next  include:  Parthenium  integrijolium,  wild  quinine;  Liatris  pycno- 
stachya  and  Liatris  spicata  var.  resinosa,  blazing  star;  Rudbec\ia  sp.,  cone- 
flower;  Quercus  alba,  white  oak;  0.  velutina,  black  oak;  Q.  macrocarpa,  bur 
oak;  Carya  ovata,  shagbark  hickory,  or  C.  glabra,  pignut  hickory;  C.  illi- 
noensis,  pecan;  Tilia  americana,  basswood;  JJlmus  amencana,  American  elm; 
JJ .  rubra,  slippery  elm;  Betula  nigra,  river  birch;  Ostrya  virginiana,  ironwood; 
Gymnodadus  dioicus,  Kentucky  coffee  tree;  Populus  deltoides,  eastern  cotton- 
wood;  Salix,  willow;  Celtis  occidentalis,  hackberry. 

6.  We  have  not  identified  Mr.  Jameson,  but  he  must  surely  turn  up  some 
day  in  the  Chouteau  or  American  Fur  Company  papers  if  the  name  is  correct. 
JCF's  map  shows  "Vessar's"  trading  house  about  where  Jameson's  would  be, 
near  present  Ottumwa,  Iowa,  and  the  vouchers  show  a  payment  to  a  man 
named  Vessar  fVauchard?],  first  name  not  given. 

7.  The  Raccoon  River  joins  the  Des  Moines  from  the  west  within  the  city 
limits  of  Des  Moines,  Iowa. 

8.  For  sugar  maple,  Acer  saccharum,  JCF  followed  Michaux  in  "Acer 
saccharinum";  Juglans  cinerea,  butternut,  and  /.  nigra,  black  walnut;  Celtis 
occidentalis,  hackberry. 

9.  Michaux's  name  for  A.  saccharinum,  silver  maple. 

10.  Perhaps  Holcomb  Creek,  entering  the  Des  Moines  from  the  west  in 
Van  Buren  Countv,  Iowa. 

11.  This  bend  is  a  convolution  of  the  Des  Moines  in  Van  Buren  County. 
The  town  of  Keosauqua  is  located  about  midway  in  the  so-called  Great  Bend. 

12.  In  Van  Buren  County. 

13.  Now  called  St.  Francisville,  in  Clark  County,  Mo. 

14.  Not  identified.  The  present  English  River  is  farther  north,  the  largest 
affluent  of  the  Iowa. 

38.  J.  J.  Abert  to  Fremont 

Bureau  of  Topogrl.  Engineers 
Washington,  April  25.  1842 

You  will  repair  as  soon  as  practicable  to  Fort  Leavenworth  in  order 
to  make  a  Survey  of  the  Platte  or  Nebraska  river,  up  to  the  head  of 


the  Sweetwater.  Having  been  already  employed  on  such  duties,  and 
being  well  acquainted  with  the  kind  of  Survey  required,  it  is  not 
necessary  to  enumerate  the  objects  to  which  your  attention  will  be 

After  having  completed  the  Survey  of  the  Platte,  should  the  sea- 
son be  favorable,  you  will  make  a  similar  survey  of  the  Kansas. 
These  duties  being  completed,  you  will  return  to  this  place  in  order 
to  prepare  the  drawings  &  report. 

You  will  submit  without  delay  the  requisite  estimate  for  these 
duties.  Very  Respectfully, 

J.  J.  Abert.  C.  C.  T.  E. 

Lbk  (DNA-77,  LS,  5:325).  Apparently  it  was  now  clear  to  all  concerned 
that  the  ailing  Nicollet,  originally  scheduled  to  lead  this  survey,  no  longer 
had  the  strength  for  such  an  undertaking. 

Going  to  the  head  of  the  Sweetwater  would  lead  JCF  to  South  Pass  on  the 
Continental  Divide,  and  plainly  this  is  one  object  of  the  orders.  No  other  set 
of  orders  has  been  found  in  letterbooks  of  the  bureau.  But  in  later  years, 
Thomas  Hart  Benton  claimed  that  the  original  orders  had  been  too  restrictive 
and  that  JCF  himself  had  found  it  necessary  to  get  them  altered:  "Col.  Abert, 
the  chief  of  the  corps,  gave  him  an  order  to  go  to  the  frontier  beyond  the  Mis- 
sissippi. That  order  did  not  come  up  to  his  [JCF's]  views.  After  receiving  it 
he  carried  it  back,  and  got  it  altered,  and  the  Rocky  Mountains  inserted  as  an 
object  of  his  exploration,  and  the  South  Pass  in  those  mountains  named  as  a 
particular  point  to  be  examined,  and  its  position  fixed  by  him"  (benton  [1], 

39.  }.  J.  Abert  to  Fremont 


Bureau  of  Topi.  Engineers 
Washington,  April  25th  1842 

I  have  to  acknowledge  the  receipt  of  your  estimate  of  funds  for 
the  Survey  of  the  Platte  or  Nebraska  &  Kansas  rivers,  and  to  inform 
you  that  a  requisition  has  been  this  day  made  in  your  favor  for 
$4000,  to  be  remitted  to  you  at  St.  Louis  Missr.  Very  Respectfully, 

J.  J.  Abert  CL.  C.  T.  E. 

Lbk  (DNA-77,  LS,  5:325-26).  JCF's  estimate,  bearing  the  same  date,  is 
registered  in  the  bureau  files  but  not  found.  The  register  entry  states  he  esti- 
mated the  cost  of  his  survey  of  the  Platte  and  Kansas  at  $4,000. 




40.  J.  J.  Abert  to  Fremont 

Bureau  of  Topi.  Engineers 
Washington,  May  9th  1842 

I  have  just  received  your  letter  of  the  5th  instt.;  there  are  two 
errors  in  it,  which  it  is  proper  to  bring  to  your  notice. 

1st.  You  have  no  authority  to  purchase  instruments:  There  is  an 
order  prohibiting  purchases  of  this  kind  without  a  requisition  for 
the  same  being  previously  submitted  &  approved. 

2nd.  You  have  no  authority  to  draw  for  money,  and  without 
special  authority  for  drawing;  the  practice  is  strictly  prohibited. 

Presuming  you  to  be  unacquainted  with  these  matters,  the  pur- 
chase of  the  chronometer  is  approved  and  the  draft  will  be  paid; 
but  hereafter  you  must  not  expect  similar  indulgence.  Very  re- 

J.  J.  Abert.  C.  C.  T.  E. 

Lbk  (DNA-77,  LS,  5:342).  Entered  in  the  bureau's  register  but  not  found, 
JCF's  letter  of  5  May  in  which  he  writes  that  he  has  purchased  a  box 
chronometer  and  drawn  on  Abert  for  $310.  Also  registered  is  the  transmittal 
of  the  draft  by  Arthur  Stewart,  on  7  May,  asking  that  the  amount  be  re- 

41.  J.  J.  Abert  to  Fremont 

Bureau  of  Topi.  Engineers 
Washington,  May  26th  1842 

You  stand  charged  on  the  books  of  this  office  with  the  following 
instruments  recvd.  from  Cpt.  [W.  G.]  Williams,  and  no  return  has 
been  received  from  you  since: 

1  Sextant 

1  Theodolite 

2  Surveyor's  compasses 


2  Boxes  drawing  instruments 

Your  immediate  attention  to  this  matter  is.  desirable.  Very  respect- 

J.  J.  Abert,  CI.  C.  T.  E. 

Lbk  (DNA-77,  LS,  5:375).  JCF  may  have  had  these  instruments  since 
his  work  with  WilHams  on  the  Cherokee  survey  in  1838.  In  military  parlance, 
a  "return"  is  a  periodic  inventory  of  equipment,  supplies,  or  personnel. 

42.  Contract  with  Honore  Ayot 

[26  May  1842] 

Before  the  [blanl{]  the  undersigned  was  present. 

Honore  Ayot  who  has  voluntarily  committed  himself  and  com- 
mits himself  by  these  presents  to  /.  C.  Fremont  at  this  time  and  ac- 
cepting for  his  first  assignment  to  leave  this  post  in  the  capacity  of 
voyageur-hunter  in  order  to  make  the  trip,  both  out  and  back,  and 
to  winter  during  the  space  of  some  months  more  or  less,  to  go  on 
the  Missouri  and  into  the  mountains,  free  upon  his  return  to  St. 
Louis,  subsisting  on  Indian  corn  or  other  sustenance  obtained  in  the 

And  to  have  well  and  duly  taken  care  of,  on  the  road  and  once  at 
the  said  place,  all  merchandise,  furs,  victuals,  utensils,  and  all  things 
necessary  for  the  journeys,  trading,  and  wintering:  to  serve,  obey 
and  faithfully  execute  all  that  the  said  /.  C.  Fremont,  or  all  persons 
to  whom  the  said  Fremont  authorizes  by  these  presents  to  transfer 
this  commitment,  will  order  him  to  make  his  profit  legal  and  honest, 
avoid  doing  harm,  warn  him  of  all  things  touching  his  interest 
which  come  to  his  knowledge,  work  in  the  posts,  cities,  villages  and 
countrysides  not  considered  as  wilderness,  so  required  and  gener- 
ally all  that  a  good  [blanl{\  should,  and  is  obligated  to  do,  with- 
out providing  for  the  carrying  out  of  trade  for  his  own  person, 
neither  with  the  whites  nor  with  the  Indians,  nor  absenting  himself 
nor  leaving  the  said  service,  under  the  penalties  provided  by  the  laws 
and  the  loss  of  his  wages. 

This  commitment  thus  made,  for  and  depending  upon  the  sum 


of  twenty  piastres,  money  of  the  United  States,  that  the  said  /.  C. 
Fremont  or  to  whomever  this  commitment  is  transferred  promises 
and  binds  himself  to  lease  and  pay  to  the  said  [blan]{\  one  month 
after  its  term  has  passed. 

Made  and  dispatched  at  St.  Louis  the  twenty-sixth  of  May  in  the 
year  one  thousand  eight  hundred  forty-two  and  signed,  with  the 
exception  of  said  [blanf{\  having  declared  not  to  know  how  to  sign, 
has  made  his  usual  mark  after  cognizance  taken 

In  the  presence  of  the  witness 

M.  S.  Cerre^  his 

HoNORE    X    Ayot 

DS  (CLSM).  The  original  is  in  French.  A  printed  form,  obviously  in  com- 
mon use  for  the  employment  of  voyageurs,  etc.  In  the  translation  above, 
penned-in  words  are  shown  in  italics.  For  a  facsimile  reproduction  of  the 
original,  see  wheat  [2].  No  biographical  information  is  available  for  Honore, 
but  probably  a  brother  or  a  cousin  was  Alexis  Ayot,  who  was  with  JCF  on  the 
expedition  of  1843-44  and  lost  a  leg  as  the  result  of  a  gunshot  wound  (Ru- 
dolph Bircher  to  JCF,  15  Sept.  1844,  Sen.  Doc.  329,  29th  Cong.,  1st  sess., 
Serial  476). 

1.  For  a  note  on  Michel  Sylvestre  Cerre,  see  under  Doc.  No.  27. 

43.   Benjamin  Clapp  to  Andrew  Drips 

Saint  Louis  30  May  1842 
Dear  Sir. 

This  will  be  presented  by  our  friend  Lieut.  J.  C.  Fremont  of  the 
U.  S.  Army,  now  on  his  route  to  the  interior  to  make  certain  Sur- 
veys, &ct.  by  direction  of  the  Government,  whom  we  beg  to  intro- 
duce to  your  acquaintance. 

As  this  Gentleman  will  need  some  person  acquainted  with  the 
country,  the  mode  of  voyaging  &c.  we  have  recommended  that  he 
avail  of  your  good  services  for  that  purpose,  &  trust  you  will  consent 
to  accompany  him — With  this  view,  &  to  that  effect,  we  wrote  you 
a  few  lines  the  other  day  by  the  men  who  went  up  with  Mr.  Fre- 
mont's Horses. 


You  will  of  course  make  your  own  arrangements  as  regards  com- 
pensation &c. — Very  truly  yours  &c. 

P.  Chouteau  Junr.  &  Co. 
Ben  J.  Clapp 

ALS,  RC  (MoSHi — Drips  Papers).  The  letter  was  directed  to  Drips  at 
Westport;  the  earlier  one  mentioned  in  the  second  paragraph  is  not  on  file. 
Benjamin  Clapp  (1790-1849)  was  one  of  the  associates  of  P.  Chouteau,  Jr., 
and  Company,  having  come  to  St.  Louis  in  1838.  He  had  earlier  been  affiliated 
with  John  Jacob  Astor  and,  at  Mackinac,  with  Crooks,  Abbott  &  Company 
(St.  Louis  Weekly  Reveille,  2  July  1849).  Andrew  Drips  (1789-1860)  was 
born  in  Westmoreland  County,  Pa.,  and  after  service  in  the  War  of  1812  had 
migrated  to  St.  Louis.  After  connections  with  several  firms,  he  may  have 
worked  for  a  time  as  clerk  for  the  Missouri  Fur  Company.  By  1822,  he  was 
associated  with  fur  trader  William  H.  Vanderburgh.  His  career  in  the  Mis- 
souri country  was  a  long  one.  JCF  planned  to  hire  him  but,  while  en  route  up 
the  Missouri  and  before  seeing  Drips,  he  met  and  hired  Christopher  Carson 
instead.  Probably  Drips  would  have  hesitated  to  go  anyway,  as  he  had  an 
application  for  special  Indian  agent  for  the  Upper  Missouri  pending  with  the 
government.  He  learned  of  his  appointment  29  Aug.  1842,  while  JCF  was  in 
the  field  (anderson,  292-96).  See  also  sunder.  For  a  note  on  Carson,  see  p. 

44.  J.  J.  Abert  to  Fremont 

Bureau  of  Topi.  Engineers 
Washington,  July  8th  1842. 

Your  letter  of  the  25th  May  submitting  an  estimate  for  four  thou- 
sand dollars  has  been  duly  received.  Such  estimates  are  inadmissible. 
It  is  necessary  to  state  in  some  detail  the  objects  of  the  estimate,  that 
the  Bureau  may  be  able  to  judge  of  the  propriety  of  the  expenditures 
contemplated,  and  whether  or  not  they  are  kept  strictly  within  the 
orders  which  you  have  received  and  the  duties  which  have  been  as- 
signed to  you,  as  it  is  only  to  that  extent  that  your  expenditures  can 
be  approved.  Very  respectfully, 

J.  J.  Abert.  CI.  C.T.E. 

Lbk  (DNA-77,  LS,  5:417).  In  a  letter  registered  by  the  bureau  but  no 
longer  present,  JCF  had  written  that  his  original  estimate  of  $4,000  for  the 
survey  would  not  be  sufficient,  and  asked  for  an  additional  $4,000. 


45.  J.  J.  Abert  to  P.  Chouteau,  Jr.,  and  Company 

Bureau  of  Topi.  Engineers 
Washington,  July  28th  1842 

I  have  the  honor  to  acknowledge  the  receipt  of  your  letter  of  the 
17th  instt.^ 

Lieut.  Fremont  has  not  furnished  this  office  with  the  least  inti- 
mation, direct  or  indirect,  of  any  advances  made  by  you.  I  have  no 
doubt  the  advances  was  made,  upon  your  statement,  and  am  fully 
sensible  of  your  frequent  kindnesses  in  this  respect.  But  Lieut.  Fre- 
mont should  not  have  called  upon  you,  as  there  was  a  sufficiency  of 
funds  to  meet  his  wants,  and  he  was  supplied  with  4000$  more  on 
the  25th  of  May,  but  it  was  not  sent,  for  reasons  which  were  com- 
municated to  him  by  letter  and  because  it  was  known  that  he  would 
be  absent  if  it  were  sent.^ 

The  only  duties  assigned  to  him  were  the  Surveys  of  the  Kansas 
and  the  Platte,  and  if  he  makes  these  cost  the  amount  of  his  requisi- 
tions, it  will  be  nearly  equal  to  much  larger  expeditions,  and  much 
more  extensive  Surveys  in  that  quarter. 

As  soon  as  Lt.  Fremont  returns  and  makes  a  proper  application 
for  funds  it  will  be  complied  with.  Believe  me  to  be 

J.  J.  Abert,  CI.  C.  T.  E. 

Lbk  (DNA-77,LS,  5:440-41). 

1.  This  letter,  calling  the  Topographical  Bureau's  attention  to  the  necessity 
of  providing  means  to  meet  the  expenses  of  JCF's  expedition  upon  his  re- 
turn to  St.  Louis,  was  entered  in  the  register  but  not  found. 

2.  Abert  seems  to  mean  that  the  money  was  allocated  on  the  basis  of  JCF's 
request  of  25  May,  but  held  up  until  the  need  for  it  could  be  clarified. 


46.  J.  J.  Abert  to  P.  Chouteau,  Jr.,  and  Company 

Bureau  of  Topogrl.  Engineers 
Washington,  August  1st  1842 

Please  to  inform  me  when  you  think  Lt.  Fremont  will  return  to 
St.  Louis,  and  what  amount  will  be  required  to  enable  him  to  close 
his  accounts.    Very  respectfully, 

J.  J.  Abert,  CI.  C.  T.  E. 

Lbk  (DNA-77,  LS,  5:443).  In  a  letter  registered  but  not  found,  the  Chou- 
teau firm  replied  11  Aug.  that  JCF  was  expected  back  in  St.  Louis  by  1 
Oct.,  and  that  he  would  need  about  $4,000  to  close  his  accounts. 

47.  J.  J.  Abert  to  Fremont 


Bureau  of  Topi.  Engineers 
Washington  Aug.  13th  1842 

I  have  to  inform  you  that  a  requisition  has  been  this  day  made  in 
your  favor  for  3000$  to  meet  your  payments  on  account  of  the  Sur- 
veys of  the  Platte  &  Kansas  river.    Very  respectfully, 

J.  J.  Abert.  CI.  C.  T.  E. 

Lbk  (DNA-77,  LS,  5:455).  Abert  has  trimmed  by  $1,000  JCF's  estimate  of 
additional  funds  needed  to  complete  his  survey — an  estimate  confirmed  by 
P.  Chouteau,  Jr.,  and  Company  which  had  provided  the  money. 

48.  Fremont  to  John  Torrey 

Washington  D.  C.  Novr.  16th  1842 


I  transmit  to  you  by  to-day's  Cars  a  Collection  of  Plants  which  I 
have  made  during  the  present  year  in  the  course  of  a  Geographical 
Exploration  to  the  Rocky  Mountains.  The  region,  over  which  the 


collection  was  made,  extends  from  the  39th  to  the  43d.  degree  of 
North  Latitude  &  from  about  the  95th  to  the  112th  degree  West 
Longitude.  The  labels  which  are  affixed  to  the  plants  will  enable  us 
to  assign  them  their  exact  localities  on  a  Topographical  Map  of  the 
country  which  I  am  now  engaged  in  constructing,  based  upon  numer- 
ous Astronomical  positions,  &  the  Barometrical  observations  which 
I  succeeded  in  to  the  top  of  the  Mountains,  will  give  us  their  limits. 
In  their  present  state  I  am  afraid  you  will  find  it  almost  impossible 
to  fix  localities  from  the  labels  &  I  regret  that  I  have  no  means  at 
present  to  render  them  more  clear. 

I  think  that  you  will  already  have  heard  from  Professor  Jeager^ 
on  this  subject.  It  will  be  necessary  for  me  to  annex  a  catalogue  of 
the  plants  to  my  report,  which  will  be  required  for  the  use  of  the  Con- 
gress early  in  the  Session.  Mr.  Jeager  informed  me  that  it  would  suit 
your  present  engagements  to  give  the  necessary  time  to  this  examina- 
tion &  that  he  felt  assured  you  would  furnish  me  with  a  Catalogue  in 
a  few  weeks.  Should  these  plants  possess  any  interest  for  you,  I  trust 
that  they  will  be  an  apology  for  the  liberty  I  have  taken.  It  is  prob- 
able that  next  year  I  shall  be  sent  to  continue  these  Explorations  to 
the  Pacific,  &  I  shall  be  very  much  gratified  if  you  will  take  some 
interest  in  my  researches  &  enable  me  to  give  to  any  thing  I  may  find 
interesting  in  your  science,  the  authority  of  your  name. 

The  Box  will  be  left  to  your  order  at  Mr.  Ernest  Berthoud's,^  No. 
8  Pine  St.  When  your  leisure  will  permit,  I  shall  be  happy  to  hear 
from  you  &  in  the  mean  time,  am  Very  Respectfully, 

J.  C.  Fremont 
Lieut.  Topi.  Engineers 

ALS,  RC  (NNNBG).  Endorsed,  "Reed.  Nov.  18."  As  far  as  we  are  aware, 
this  is  the  earliest  surviving  letter  written  after  JCF  returned  from  his  expedi- 
tion. Now  that  he  is  back  in  Washington,  it  would  seem  logical  to  present  his 
report  of  the  expedition  at  this  point:  but  there  are  compelling  reasons  to 
present  the  documents  in  chronological  order — and  JCF  did  not  complete  his 
report  and  submit  it  to  Abert  until  1  March  1843.  It  is  presented  as  our  Doc. 
No.  61,  beginning  on  p.  168. 

John  Torrey  (1796-1873),  professor  of  chemistry  at  Columbia  and  Prince- 
ton and  "father"  of  the  New  York  Botanical  Garden  and  the  United  States 
National  Herbarium,  was  a  pioneer  taxonomic  botanist.  His  name  is  often 
linked  to  that  of  another  well-known  botanist,  Asa  Gray,  because  the  two 
worked  for  long  years  to  classify  and  describe  plant  specimens  brought  back 
from  the  West.  They  also  collaborated  on  a  monumental .  flora  of  North 
America.  See  torrey  &  gray,  and  for  biographies  of  Torrey,  see  rodgers  and 
c.  c.  robbins. 


1.  Benedict  Jaeger  (1789-1869)  was  professor  of  German  and  Italian,  and 
lecturer  on  natural  history,  at  Princeton  (wertenbaker,  121,  127;  meisel, 
3:455,  456,  604). 

2.  Ernest  Berthoud  not  identified. 

49.  John  Torrey  to  Asa  Gray 

New  York,  Novr.  18th  1842 
My  dear  friend — 

A  few  days  ago  I  reed,  a  letter  from  Jaeger — formerly  of  Prince- 
ton, giving  me  an  account  of  some  plants  collected  towards  the 
Rocky  Mountains  by  a  Lt.  Fremont  in  the  U.  S.  service.  He  advised 
the  gentleman  to  send  the  whole  to  me — &  this  morning  a  letter 
arrived  from  the  gentleman  himself — informing  me  that  the  box  was 
dispatched  from  Washington  on  the  16th.  It  is  by  this  time  in  N. 
York.  The  specimens  were  collected,  he  says  "the  present  year,  in  the 
course  of  a  geographical  exploration  to  the  Rocky,  Mountains.  The 
region  over  which  the  collection  was  made,  extends  from  the  39th  to 
the  43d  degree  of  N.  Latitude  &  from  the  95th  to  the  112  deg.  W. 
Longitude.  The  labels  which  are  affixed  to  the  specimens  will  en- 
able us  to  assign  them  their  exact  localities  on  a  topographical 
map  of  the  country  which  I  am  now  engaged  in  constructing,  based 
upon  numerous  Astronomical  positions,  &  the  Barometrical  observa- 
tions which  I  succeeded  in  to  the  top  of  the  mountains,  will  give  us 
their  limits."  He  writes  something  like  a  foreigner,  but  he  signs  him- 
self J.  C.  Fremont,  Lt.  Topog.  Engineers.  He  expects,  next  year,  to 
continue  the  exploration  to  the  Pacific  &  offers  me  what  he  collects. 
So  here  is  a  chance  for  you  to  get  seeds  &c.  How  would  it  do  to  send 
a  collector  with  him.  Leavenworth^  wishes  to  go  somewhere — & 
this  place  might  suit  him — but  not  us — in  all  respects.  When  I  get 
the  box,  I  will  send  you  the  Composhae  &  such  duplicates  of  the 
other  (if  there  be  any)  as  you  may  desire  for  your  own  herbm. 

•  •  •  • 

Yours  affectionately, 


ALS,  RC  (MH-G).  Asa  Gray  (1810-88),  professor  of  natural  history  at 
Harvard  from  1842  until  his  death,  was  a  founder  of  the  National  Academy 


of  Sciences  and  a  regent  of  the  Smithsonian  Institution.  In  addition  to  the 
Flora  he  produced  with  Torrey,  he  is  best  known  for  a  work  entitled  Manual 
of  the  Botany  of  the  Northern  United  States.  First  published  in  1848,  it  is 
still  in  use  today,  in  revised  form,  as  Gray's  Manual  of  Botany.  For  a  bi- 
ography, see  DUPREE. 

1.  Melines  C.  Leavenworth  (1796-1862),  a  botanist  and  Army  surgeon  who 
had  collected  in  the  South  during  his  military  career.  He  had  resigned  from 
the  Army  in  1840  and  was  therefore  available  "to  go  somewhere"  (heitman; 
RODGERs,  125,  155,  175-76,  210,  298). 

50.  Fremont  to  Joseph  N.  Nicollet 

Washington,  D.C.  Nov.  27th  1842 
My  Dear  Mr.  Nicollet 

I  have  deferred  writing  to  you  until  I  should  have  something  to 
say  decisive  of  the  fate  of  the  Map^ — immediately  after  the  receipt  of 
yours  of  the  10th  [not  foufid]  I  called  on  Col.  A.  &  in  an  incidental 
conversation  he  informed  that  he  intended  to  publish  the  Map  for 
the  present  Congress,  but  seemed  to  have  no  objection  whatever  to 
engraving  the  leading  Ridges  &  prominent  features  of  the  Country, 
&  said  he  would  send  for  Mr.  Stone  &  see  if  sufficient  time  remained 
for  the  Execution  of  that  part  of  the  work.  After  the  lapse  of  some 
days  I  received  a  note  from  him,  directing  me  to  call  on  Mr.  Stone. 
The  latter  informed  me  that  it  is  entirely  impossible  to  engrave  any 
part  of  the  Topography,  &  that  it  had  been  determined  to  publish 
what  had  been  engraved,  on  the  common  thin  paper,  for  the  com- 
meficement  of  this  Session ;  &  that  an  estimate  for  the  Engraving  of 
the  Topographical  part  would  be  submitted  &  if  the  money  could  be 
obtained,  that  work  would  be  executed  in  the  coming  year.  In  an- 
swer to  my  enquiry,  why  the  work  had  not  been  executed  during 
the  past  summer,  he  told  me  that  you  would  not  permit  the  Mississippi 
Sources  nor  the  Southern  part  of  the  Map  to  be  engraved,  &  that  it 
was  impossible  for  him  to  engrave  one  portion  of  the  Map  without 
the  other,  so  that  you  had  prevented  the  engraving  of  the  Topog- 
raphy— This  is  in  substance  what  passed  &  will  put  you  clearly  in 
possession  of  the  position  of  affairs.  He  gave  me  one  of  the  sheets  for 
correction,  which  I  made  &  returned  to  him  the  next  day.  I  also  cor- 
rected the  Missouri  at  Leavenworth,  &  think  that  I  could  improve 
that  river  if  I  had  here  the  large  Book  which  contains  the  survey;  I 


could  then  compare  places  with  my  late  survey,  which  on  the  scale 
of  the  map  is  not  possible,  or  rather  is  very  difficult.^  Write  to  me  on 
these  subjects  &  think  if  I  can  be  of  any  service  to  the  Map — Now  of 
other  afTairs,  I  have  the  pleasure  to  tell  you  that  I  have  a  fine  little 
daughter,^  eleven  days  old  to-day.  Jessie  is  sitting  up  &  has  got 
through  with  her  sickness  very  well  indeed.  The  family  send  all 
their  regards  to  you,  Col.  Benton  proposes  to  go  to  Baltimore,  prob- 
ably in  the  morning  &  told  me  that  he  will  call  to  see  you.  Can  you 
have  an  occultation  calculated  for  me  so  that  I  can  get  the  result  next 
week  ?  If  so  I  will  send  the  data  immediately  &  be  very  much  obliged 
to  you.  Give  our  regards  to  Dr.  Ducaters"*  family  &  write  me  as  soon 
as  you  can — Most  truly  yours, 

J.  C.  Fremont 

ALS,  RC  (PHi — Gratz  Collection).  On  the  back  of  the  letter  in  Benton's 
hand:  "With  the  best  wishes  of  Mr.  Benton,  and  the  hope  that  Mr.  Nicollet 
will  soon  be  able  to  see  his  friends  in  Washington."  Addressed  to  the  care  of 
Dr.  J.  T.  Ducatel  on  Franklin  Street,  Baltimore. 

1.  Two  versions  of  the  Nicollet  map  were  produced:  one  dated  1842,  printed 
at  a  scale  of  1:600,000  and  distributed  to  the  Senate  in  an  edition  of  300 
copies;  a  second  one,  completely  recalculated  and  re-engraved,  done  at  a 
scale  of  1:1,200,000  to  accompany  the  1843  Report.  The  1842  map  is  quite 
scarce;  we  note  one  copy  in  DNA  and  two  in  DLC  and  have  made  no  effort 
to  locate  others.  The  1843  map  is  reproduced  in  the  Map  Portfolio.  It  is  also 
available  with  Nicollet's  Report  and  in  a  version  reprinted  from  the  original 
plates  by  the  Minnesota  Historical  Society  in  1965. 

For  manuscript  maps  in  the  cartographic  records  of  DNA-77  which  pro- 
vided copy  for  the  engravers,  see: 

U.S.  41.  "Sources  of  the  Mississippi  and  North  Red  River,"  based  on 
Nicollet's  surveys  of  1836  and  1837.  One  sheet. 

U.S.  131.  Two  maps  bearing  the  same  file  number,  each  in  four  sheets,  one 
map  measuring  75  X  61  inches  and  the  other  78  X  62^  inches,  each  entided 
"Map  of  the  Hydrographical  Basin  of  the  Upper  Mississippi  River." 

2.  The  "large  Book"  is  the  chart  of  the  Missouri.  JCF's  "late  survey"  is  his 
1842  expedition  to  South  Pass. 

3.  Elizabeth  Benton  Fremont,  born  13  Nov.  1842  in  Washington. 

4.  Julius  Timoleon  Ducatel  (1796-1849),  a  friend  of  Nicollet's  who  was 
later  to  become  state  geologist  of  Maryland.  With  J.  H.  Alexander  he  made  a 
new  map  and  geological  survey  of  the  state  (meisel,  2:553-57,  619). 


51.  Asa  Gray  to  John  Torrey 

[5  Dec.  1842] 

•  •  •  • 

Saturday  afternoon 

The  parcel  of  Compositae  &c.  of  the  Far  West  has  only  just  come 
in.  I  have  looked  over  the  Compos,  with  some  excitement.  Some  few 
new,  and  the  old  help  out  Nuttall's^  scraps  &c.  very  well.  Tetra- 
dymia's  [horsebrush]  this  side  of  the  Rocky  Mts.!!  Some  new  Sen- 
ecio's  [ragworts],  especially  from  the  Mountain  near  the  snow  line. 
How  I  would  like  to  botanize  up  there!  I  will  give  you  an  account  of 
these  Compos,  soon,  and  send  back  the  spec,  as  you  desire,  selecting 
one  for  myself  where  it  will  bear  it.  Pray  remember  me  in  this 
matter  as  regards  the  other  families  of  this  collection. 


Monday  morning 

I  meant  to  have  sent  this  today  in  a  parcel  containing  Carey's 
Compos.  (Senecio's  &  Thistles)  from  Nuttall:  but  I  will  retain  them 
longer,  as  I  shall  want  to  compare  some  of  Nuttall's  bits  of  Arte- 
misia's [wormwood]  &c. — with  those  of  this  new  collection.  I  hope 
to  send  it  next  week.  Is  the  Lieutenant's  name  Fremont? 

I  have  just  looked  over  the  parcel  of  Lupinus,  Rosa  &  Oenothera.'^ 
I  know  nearly  all,  except  the  Lupines.  If  I  do  not  send  sooner,  I  shall 
hope  to  bring  them  all  back  to  you  sometime  next  month.  .  .  . 

•  •  •  • 

I  wish  we  had  a  collector  to  go  with  Fremont.  It  is  a  great  chance. 
If  none  are  to  be  had,  Lieut.  F.  must  be  indoctrinated ,  &  taught  to 
collect  both  dried  spec.  &  seeds.  Tell  him  he  shall  be  immortalized 
by  having  the  999th  Senecio  called  S.  Fremonti,  that's  pos.,  for  he  has 
at  least  two  new  ones.  .  .  .  This  letter  you  see  has  no  beginning,  as 
I  have  scribbled  down  memoranda  for  a  day  or  two  past,  as  they  oc- 
curred to  me.  ...  I  am  deep  among  thistles,  which  are  thorny.  .  .  . 

With  kind  remembrances  to  all  at  Princeton — when  you  see  them 
— I  remain.  Yours  affectionately, 

A.  Gray 
Cambridge,  5th  Dec.  1842 

ALS,  RC  (NNNBG).  Addressed,  "Prof.  John  Torrey,  Medical  College,  67 
Crosby  St.,  New  York." 

1.  Thomas  Nuttall  (1786-1859),  naturalist,  botanist,  and  ornithologist,  had 
explored  along  the  Missouri,  Arkansas,  and  Red  rivers,  and  with  the  Wyeth 
expedition  of  1834-35  had  gone  to  the  mouth  of  the  Columbia.  He  became 
professor  of  botany  at  Harvard  and  curator  of  its  botanical  garden.  Much  of 
JCF's  botanizing  on  his  1842  expedition  was  in  an  area  already  covered  by 
Nuttall,  as  the  catalogue  of  plants  (p.  286)  will  indicate. 

2.  John  Carey,  a  good  friend  of  Asa  Gray's,  had  come  from  England  in 
1830  to  dabble  in  business  and  botany.  He  had  botanized  with  Gray  in 
Virginia  and  North  Carolina  in  1841,  and  worked  on  the  sedges  and  willows 
for  Gray's  manual.  After  a  fire  that  destroyed  his  herbarium  and  took  the  life 
of  his  son,  he  returned  to  England  (dupree,  54,  97,  172,  201,  327). 

3.  Lupine  or  blue  bonnet,  wild  rose,  and  evening  primrose  (Oenothera). 

52.  Fremont  to  J.  C.  Edwards 

Washington  City,  December  10,  1842 

It  will  be  a  reply  to  a  greater  part  of  the  questions  contained  in 
your  favor  of  the  7th,  to  say  that  the  survey  which  I  made  of  the  Des 
Moines  in  July,  1841,  was  simply  geographical,  and  principally  to 
determine  some  astronomical  positions,  particularly  at  the  mouth  of 
the  Rackoon  Fork.  Any  examination,  therefore,  of  the  rapids,  or 
other  obstructions  to  the  navigation,  would  be  merely  incidental; 
and  to  those  within  the  territorial  line  more  especially  the  rapids  of 
the  Great  Bend,  which  had  been  made  the  subject  of  a  particular 
survey,  I  gave  very  little  attention.  There  are  some  10  or  12  rapids  in 
the  space  between  the  Rackoon  Fork  and  the  Great  Bend,  a  distance 
of  145  miles.  Of  the  two  largest,  the  Eagle  Nest  and  Red  Rock 
rapids,  you  will  find  drawings  on  an  enlarged  scale  on  the  map 
which  accompanies  my  report;  the  former  is  108  and  the  latter  90 
miles  above  the  rapids  of  the  Great  Bend.  At  this  last  place,  I  esti- 
mated the  perpendicular  fall  to  be  12  inches;  and  it  is  very  probable 
not  less  than  two  feet  in  80  or  100  yards.  The  rapid  at  Lexington  is 
two  miles  and  1,000  yards  south  of  that  at  the  Great  Bend,  and  by  the 
river  11|  miles  below.  Heavy  and  continuous  rains  had  occasioned  a 
rise  of  some  feet  when  I  made  the  survey  of  the  lower  part  of  the 
river,  and  the  rapid  at  Farmington,  which  is  15^  miles  below  that  at 
the  Great  Bend,  and  5\  miles  south  of  it,  was  then  scarcely  a  ripple, 
and  below  this  point  I  remarked  no  rapids  worthy  the  name. 


In  the  course  of  surveys  on  the  western  tributaries  of  the  upper 
Mississippi,  I  found,  among  their  numerous  shoals,  and  in  the  lower 
part  of  their  course,  one  to  which  was  usually  given  the  name  of  falls 
or  rapids,  by  way  of  distinction.  The  "St.  Peter's  rapids,"  which  form 
a  serious  obstruction  to  the  navigation  of  that  river,  occur  about  60 
miles  from  the  mouth.  Those  of  the  Embarras  river,  of  which  there 
are  two,  about  one  mile  apart,  with  a  perpendicular  fall  of  three  feet 
each,  are  within  the  distance  above  mentioned  from  the  mouth  of 
the  river.  To  this  line  of  falls,  extending  across  these  rivers  from 
north  to  south,  and  occasioned  perhaps  by  a  change  in  the  formation, 
I  supposed  that  the  rapids  at  the  Great  Bend  might  belong. 

Very  respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 

J.  C.  Fremont 
Lieut.  Top.  Efigineers 

Printed,  "Northern  Boundary  of  Missouri,"  H.R.  Doc.  38,  at  pp.  19-20,  27th 
Cong.,  3rd  sess.,  Serial  420.  Democratic  Representative  John  Cummins  Ed- 
wards (1804-88)  was  from  Missouri  and  served  as  governor  in  1844  (biog.  dir. 


Also  printed  in  H.R.  Doc.  38  are  JCF's  report  of  his  survey;  the  report  of 
W.  Bowling  Guion  of  9  Oct.  1841  which  came  as  a  result  of  his  instructions 
of  1  Dec.  1840  to  make  a  survey  of  the  Des  Moines  and  Iowa  rivers;  and  the 
report  of  Albert  M.  Lea,  19  Jan.  1839,  to  the  commissioner  of  the  General 
Land  Office.  The  object  of  all  this  interest  was  the  northern  boundary  of  Mis- 
souri, which  was  in  dispute  because  of  the  error  of  John  C.  Sullivan,  a  govern- 
ment surveyor,  in  marking  in  1816  the  boundaries  designated  in  the  Osage 
Indian  treaty  of  1808.  A  confusion  of  language  and  perhaps  faulty  knowledge 
of  geography  also  was  involved,  as  Congress  had  authorized  the  northern 
boundary  to  be  the  Sullivan  line,  describing  it  as  passing  through  "the  rapids 
of  the  river  Des  Moines."  Missourians  and  lowans  disputed  for  twelve  years 
the  meaning  of  the  term:  rapids  in  the  Des  Moines,  or  the  better-known 
rapids  in  the  Mississippi  just  above  the  mouth  of  the  Des  Moines?  In  1849, 
the  Supreme  Court  finally  decreed  that  the  old  Sullivan  line  should  stand. 

There  is  no  evidence  in  our  records  to  show  that  JCF's  survey  was  instigated 
as  a  result  of  this  dispute,  but  we  suspect  that  it  was — and  that  Senator 
Benton  of  Missouri  was  somehow  involved  in  having  the  survey  made — just 
as  he  surely  must,  of  necessity,  have  been  involved  in  the  boundary  dispute. 


53.  Financial  Records,  1842 

[31  Dec.  1842] 
First  and  Second  Quarters,  1842 

Voucher  No.  1,  Washington,  11  Feb.  1842 
U.S.  to  Charles  Preuss 

For  services  rendered  to  the  U.S.  as  assistant  draughtsman  in 
the  Topographical  Bureau  @  2.60  per  diem,  31  days  from 
10  Jan.  to  10  Feb.  1842  80.60 

Charles  Preuss  (1803-54),  a  German  cartographer,  had  worked  for  Fer- 
dinand Hassler  before  joining  Nicollet  and  JCF  early  in  1842.  His  association 
with  JCF  was  to  extend  over  many  years,  and  he  was  to  prove  himself  a 
highly  skilled  and  conscientious  mapmaker.  He  was  not  a  happy  or  well- 
adjusted  man — he  hanged  himself  in  1854 — but  the  extent  of  his  frequent 
miseries  was  not  revealed  until  the  translation  and  publication  of  his  western 
diaries  in  1958  (preuss).  There  he  comes  through  as  a  dour  traveler,  unhappy 
with  JCF,  unhappy  with  hardship  and  inclement  weather.  Assuming  that  his 
diaries  are  in  part  catharsis,  we  can  place  some  credence  in  JCF's  own  recol- 
lections of  the  man  (memoirs,  70  and  passim)  as  one  who  had  served  him 
willingly  and  well.  Quotations  from  the  Preuss  diaries  will  appear  as  notes  in 
this  and  subsequent  volumes.  Erwin  G.  and  Elisabeth  K.  Gudde  present  the 
best  available  biographical  sketch  in  their  preface  to  his  diaries. 

Voucher  No.  2,  Washington,  14  Feb.  1842 
U.S.  to  E.  &  G.  W.  Blunt 

1  sextant  120.00 

1  circle  150.00 

box,  freight,  etc.  2.00 


Voucher  No.  3,  Baltimore,  1  March  1842 
U.S.  to  James  Green 

18  Aug.  1841 

1  mountain  barometer  repaired  6.00 

1  ditto  3.00 

1  ditto  3.50 

1  thermometer  1.50 

1  ditto  .50 


2  leather  cases  for  barometer  5.00 

20  Aug. 

repairing  sextant,  3  shades,  eyepiece,  &c.  4.00 

Case  for  dipping  needle  3.00 

23  Aug.  1841 

Strap  for  leather  case  .50 

25  Aug. 

1  hydrometer,  Beaume  1.00 

1  March  1842 

repairing  sextant,  regraduating,  &c.  18.00 

repairing  horizon  box  ,50 

packing  box  .37^ 



Voucher  No.  4,  Washington,  25  March  1842 
U.S.  to  John  A.  Blake 

Repairing  and  binding  2  maps  4.25 

John  A.  Blake  was  often  engaged  by  the  government  to  bind  books  and 
official  documents.  He  may  be  the  same  John  A.  Blake  who,  in  the  Daily  Na- 
tional Intelligencer  for  24  Dec.  1839,  advertised  himself  as  an  auctioneer  and 
commission  merchant,  with  a  variety  of  goods  for  sale  at  Centre  Market 

Voucher  No.  5,  Washington,  25  March  1842 
U.S.  to  William  King,  Jr. 

Taking  down  and  removing  a  large  drawing  table  from  the 
office  of  the  Coast  Survey,  on  20  March  3.50 

Voucher  No.  6,  Washington,  28  March  1842 
V.S.  to  E.  &  G.  W.  Blunt 

1  Troughton  sextant  and  case  88.00 

Voucher  No.  7 ,  Washington,  1  April  1842 
U.S.  to  J.  N.  Nicollet 

For  services  rendered  to  the  U.S.  as  superintendent  of  the 
Surveys  West  of  the  Mississippi  for  90  days,  1  Jan.  to  31 
March  1842,  @  8.00  per  diem  720.00 


Voucher  No.  8,  Washington,  1  April  1842 
U.S.  to  Charles  Preuss 

For  services  rendered  the  U.S.  as  assistant  to  J.  N.  Nicollet 
@  2.60  per  diem,  49  days  from  11  Feb.  to  31  March  1842       127.40 

Endorsed  by  JCF:  "The  Hon.  J.  C.  Spencer,  Sec.  at  War,  authorized  J.  N. 
Nicollet  to  employ  the  above  named  Charles  Preuss  as  assistant  in  his  astro- 
nomical &  other  calculations  &  drawings." 

Voucher  No.  9,  Philadelphia,  21  April  1842 
U.S.  to  Wm.  H.  C.  Riggs 

[  ]  March 

Refitting  the  hook  inside  the  main  spring,  resetting  by  brazing 
anew  the  cock  diamond,  polishing  pivots,  poising  the  bal- 
ance, cleaning,  reducing,  and  ascertaining  rate  of  Chro- 
nometer by  Brockbank  No.  739  15.00 

William  H.  C.  Riggs,  watchmaker  and  chronometer  maker,  was  located  in 
1847  at  126  S.  Front  Street  and  13  Dock  Street,  Philadelphia. 

Voucher  No.  10,  Washington,  26  April  1842 
U.S.  to  Thomas  R.  Gedney 

1  Massey's  patent  log  40.00 

Thomas  R.  Gedney  (d.  1857),  a  naval  commander,  lived  on  F  Street  N. 
near  Nineteenth  W.,  Washington.  He  had  been  an  assistant  in  the  Coast 
Survey  and  by  direction  of  Ferdinand  R.  Hassler  had  surveyed  New  York 
harbor  and  discovered  a  new  channel. 

Voucher  No.  11,  Washington,  27  April  1842 
U.S.  to  F.  W.  Naylor 

1  tin  case  for  maps  2.62 

In  1843,  Francis  Naylor,  a  turner,  was  located  at  4i  Street  W.  near  C  Street 
S.,  Washington. 

Voucher  No.  12,  Washington,  28  April  1842 
U.S.  to  William  Wiirdemann 

repairing  and  cleaning  a  sextant  for  J.  N.  Nicollet  5.50 

making  1|  doz.  silver  and  German  silver  draughting  pens  2.70 

additions  to  a  camera  lucida  2.50 


German  silver  scale  of  /4o  meters  divided  for  Hoo,ooo  6.00 

20  spiral  springs  for  chronometer  box  1.50 


In  1846,  William  Wiirdemann  was  a  mathematical  instrument  maker  on  the 
west  side  of  Delaware  Avenue,  between  B  and  C,  in  Washington.  He  had 
done  much  work  for  Hassler  in  the  Coast  Survey. 

Voucher  No.  13,  Washington,  28  April  1842 
U.S.  to  William  Fischer 

7  ream  Southworth's  linen  quarto,  ruled  2.75 

4  lead  pencils  .50 

India  rubber  .06 

inkstand  75^,  ink  190  .94 

sealing  wax  25^,  1  stick  India  ink  370  .62 

2  cards  Hayden's  pens  .75 

2  cards  mapping  pens  2.00 


Voucher  No.  14,  Washington,  29  April  1842 
U.S.  to  John  A.  Blake 

lining  with  cotton  10  sheets  largest  size  drawing  paper  12.50 

binding  1  small  quarto  volume  in  half  morocco  1.00 


Voucher  No.  IS,  Washington,  29  April  1842 
U.S.  to  Pol /{in  horn  &  Campbell 

2  cases  for  instruments  7.00 

1  case  for  spyglass  1.00 


Voucher  No.  16,  New  York,,  30  April  1842 
U.S.  to  E.  &  G.  W.  Blunt 

1  English  nautical  almanac  2.50 

1  new  [.  .  .],  new  balance  staff  and  cleaning  chronometer  11.00 



Voucher  No.  17,  Washington,  30  April  1842 
U.S.  to  Charles  Preuss 

For  services  rendered  to  the  U.S.  as  assistant  to  J.  N.  Nicollet, 
@  2.75  per  diem  for  30  days,  1  April  to  30  April  1842  82.50 

Voucher  No.  18,  Washington,  30  April  1842 
U.S.  to  J.  N.  Nicollet 

For  services  rendered  the  U.S.  as  superintendent  of  the  Sur- 
veys West  of  the  Mississippi  for  30  days,  1  April  to  30 
April  240.00 

Voucher  No.  19,  Washington,  1  May  1842 
U.S.  to  William  King,  Jr. 

13  Oct.  1841 

mirror  for  camera  obscura  .75 

portable  box  to  form  the  above  8.00 
30  April  1842 

packing  box  for  instruments  11.00 

packing  6  instrument  boxes  3.00 

1  pine  table  arranged  to  pack  in  box,  for  camp  use  9.00 

packing  the  same  in  a  box  1.50 

moving  table  to  Coast  Survey  office  2.00 


Voucher  No.  20,  New  York,  4  May  1842 
U.S.  to  Arthur  Stewart 

1  first  class  2-day  London  chronometer  by  French,  No.  7810      300.00 
1  land-carriage  outside  box,  with  extra  pillows,  cushion,  &c.        10.00 


In    1846,    Arthur    Stewart's   firm,    listed    as    "chronometers,    merchant    ex- 
change," was  on  William  at  the  corner  of  Wall  Street,  New  York. 

Voucher  No.  21,  New  Yor\,  5  May  1842 
U.S.  to  American  Fur  Company 

1  three-breadths  brown  Russia  sheeting  tent  20.00 

Rect.  by  Ramsay  Crooks  as  president  of  the  company. 


Voucher  No.  22,  New  Yor\,  5  May  1842 
US.  to  E.  &  G.  W.  Blunt 

3  May 

1  mountain  barometer  in  leather  case  35.00 

4  best  thermometers  in  mahogany  case,  graduated  to  order  9.00 

2  lbs.  best  refined  quicksilver  2.00,  box  and  bottle  25(z!  4.25 


Voucher  No.  23,  New  Yor\,  4  May  1842 
U.S.  to  A.  Bininger  &  Co. 

6  lbs.  Dresden  chocolate  4.50 

Voucher  No.  24,  New  YorI{,  5  May  1842 
U.S.  to  Horace  H.  Day 

1  air  army  boat  or  floater  150.00 

2  pieces  India  rubber  cloth  39.98 
2  pots  rubber  composition  1.00 


Horace  H.  Day  had  opened  a  small  factory  at  New  Brunswick,  N.J.,  to 
manufacture  rubber  fabrics  in  1839.  His  interests  soon  conflicted  with  those  of 
Charles  Goodyear,  who  patented  a  vulcanization  process  in  1844.  After  a 
series  of  law  suits,  Day  was  permanently  enjoined  from  further  rubber  man- 
ufacture in  1852.  For  JCF's  unfortunate  experiences  with  the  rubber  boat,  see 
below,  pp.  275-79. 

Voucher  No.  25,  New  York,,  5  May  1842 
U.S.  to  Betijamin  Pike  &  Sons 

1  mountain  barometer  25.00 

1  leather  case  for  same  2.00 

1  boat  compass  3.00 


Benjamin  Pike  &  Sons  were  opticians  at  166  Broadway,  New  York. 


Voucher  No.  26,  New  York,,  6  May  1842 
U.S.  to  Moore,  Baker  &  Co. 

1  pair  fine  pistols  in  case  50.00 

powder,  caps,  &c.  1.00 


Moore,  Baker  &  Co.  had  a  gun  and  saddlery  shop  at  204  Broadway,  New 

Voucher  No.  27,  Chicago,  15  May  1842 
U.S.  to  Frink  Walker  &  Co. 

To  furnishing  an  exclusive  extra  post  coach  for  2  persons  and 

14  cases  containing  instruments  from  Chicago  to  Peru  50.00 

Frink,  Walker,  &  Co.  was  a  stage  proprietor  at  the  corner  of  Lake  and 
Dearborn  Streets,  Chicago. 

Voucher  No.  28,  St.  Louis,  25  May  1842 
U.S.  to  E.  M.  Buckingham 

For  making  1  spirit  gas  field  lamp  3.00 

E.  M.  Buckingham  was  a  dealer  in  stoves  and  hollow- ware  at  130  N.  First 
Street,  St.  Louis. 

Voucher  No.  29,  St.  Louis,  26  May  1842 
U.S.  to  Dinnies  &  Radford 

6  half-bound  blank  books  10.75 

1  doz.  pencils,  lead  1-25 

1  penknife  -75 

1  card  steel  pens  1-00 

1  bottle  black  ink  .62 

1  piece  Indian  rubber  ^l^ 


Voucher  No.  30,  St.  Louis,  26  May  1842 
U.S.  to  Hendrick  Tisius 

2  pair  ice  shoes  10.00 
2  pair  iron  plates  and  heels  with  steel  nails  4.00 

2  steel  pins  for  sticks 



Hendrick  Tisius  not  further  identified.  When  the  purchase  of  these  items 


was  questioned  by  the  government  auditors,  JCF  wrote  in  an  accompanying 
explanation:  "The  articles  in  this  account  were  for  use  among  the  ice-fields 
in  the  Survey  of  the  Wind  River  Mts." 

Voucher  No.  31,  St.  Louts,  27  May  1842 
U.S.  to  Carstens  &  Schuetze 

1  lb.  Jamaica  arrowroot  .50 

1  lb.  [.  .  .]  .25 

3  oz.  purg[ative]  pills  4.50 

4  oz.  laudanum  .75 
3% 6  oz.  pure  quicksilver  8.00 
1  oz.  iodine  .75 

1  oz.  nitric  acid  .38 

2  lbs.  sulphur  .50 
24  doses  emetic  3.00 
24  doses  Dover's  pow^der  3.00 

2  lancets  2.00 


Voucher  No.  32,  St.  Louis,  29  May  1842 
U.S.  to  Jacob  Blatttier 

1  best  quality  French  pocket  compass  12.00 

1  German  pocket  compass  12.00 

1  common  pocket  compass  4.00 

1  best  quality  thermometer  9.00 

1  magnifying  glass  .75 

1  pair  forceps  .75 

1  magnet  1.50 


Voucher  No.  33,  Baltimore,  1  June  1842 
U.S.  to  J.  N.  Nicollet 

For  services  to  the  U.S.  as  superintendent  of  the  North  West- 
ern Surveys  for  31  days  @  8.00  per  diem  from  1  May  to  31 
May  1842  248.00 

Voucher  No.  34,  Westport,  Mo.,  4  June  1842 
U.S.  to  the  Steamboat  Rowena 

3  June 

passage  for  17  men  from  St.  Louis  to  Westport  114.75 


freight  on  468  lbs.  17.50 

freight  on  3  kegs  powder  1.50 

freight  on  8  French  carts  [  ?]  24.00 


Voucher  No.  35,  St.  Louis,  10  June  1842 
U.S.  to  C.  &  F.  Chouteau 

Bought  of  Boone  &  Hamilton: 

1  double-barreled  shotgun  35.00 

2  rifles  30.00 
1  coil  rope  10.50 
6  halters  9.00 
12  tug  ropes  3.00 
8  dressed  deerskins  16.00 
12  boxes  percussion  caps  3.00 
6  twilled  bags  6.00 
repairing  guns  4.21 


This  document  is  a  subvoucher  rendered  at  Westport  on  15  June  1842.  The 
main  voucher  is  nearly  illegible,  but  consists  of  sundries  such  as  those  shown 
in  voucher  no.  31  for  the  second  and  third  quarters,  1842.  One  entry  reads: 
"amount  assumed  to  Boone  &  Hamilton,  158.71."  The  total  is  $503.00. 

Cyprian  and  Francis  Chouteau,  sons  of  Pierre  Chouteau,  Sr.,  by  Osage 
mothers,  together  and  separately  maintained  a  number  of  posts  on  the  Kansas 
River  for  trade  with  the  Indians.  One  joint  enterprise  was  "Four  Houses," 
established  between  1813  and  1821  at  the  site  of  Bonner  Springs,  Kan.  In 
1825,  the  brothers  built  a  post  on  the  south  side  of  the  Kansas,  about  seven 
miles  from  Westport,  Mo.,  and  in  1828-29,  Cyprian  located  a  post  for  trade 
with  the  Delawares  and  Shawnees  on  the  north  side  of  the  river,  six  miles 
west  of  the  Missouri  line.  It  was  from  this  last  house  that  JCF  organized  his 
first  expedition,  and  it  was  also  the  main  outfitting  station  for  caravans  en- 
gaged in  the  Santa  Fe  trade  {Kan.  State  Hist.  Coll.,  9:573-74). 

Albert  G.  Boone,  grandson  of  frontiersman  Daniel  Boone,  had  taken  his 
family  to  Westport  about  1838.  With  James  G.  Hamilton,  his  partner,  he  ob- 
tained a  license  in  1843  to  trade  with  the  Potawatomis,  Weas,  Ottawas,  and 
Piankeshaws  (barry,  pt.  10,  29:153,  pt.  12,  29:474-75). 

Voucher  No.  36,  Westport,  Mo.  Terr.,  10  June  1842 
U.S.  to  P.  M.  Chouteau 

4  mules  bought  of  L.  Maxwell  160.00 

1  barrel  sugar  286  lbs.  28.60 

1  sack  coffee  188  lbs.  23.70 


to  blacksmithing  6.95 

amount  assumed  to  Boone  &  Hamilton  79.37 


A  subvoucher  is  present  for  the  purchase  of  sundries  from  Boone  &  Hamil- 
ton. JCF's  endorsement  explains  that  some  of  the  purchases  from  that  firm 
were  personal  items  for  his  men,  "but  these  bills  did  not  reach  my  hands 
until  after  I  had  paid  off  my  men,  &  I  respectfully  submit  that  the  accidental 
loss  may  not  fall  upon  me." 

P.  M.  Chouteau  is  probably  Pierre  Menard  Chouteau,  son  of  Francis  Ges- 
seau  Chouteau  (b.  1797).  He  had  settled  in  Westport. 

Voucher  no.  6,  third  and  fourth  quarters  of  1842  below,  shows  Maxwell 
employed  as  a  hunter  for  152  days  on  the  expedition.  Lucien  Bonaparte  Max- 
well (1818-75)  was  the  grandson  of  trader  Pierre  Menard  of  Illinois,  was  re- 
lated to  the  Chouteaus,  and  was  a  friend  of  Kit  Carson.  Probably  in  1844, 
he  married  the  heiress  of  the  vast  Beaubien-Miranda  tract  in  New  Mexico, 
and  eventually  became  its  sole  owner.  He  would  accompany  JCF  on  his  ex- 
pedition to  California  in  1845  and  play  a  role  in  the  conquest  of  California 
( DUNHAM  [2];  PEARSON,  10).  DUNHAM  says  that  Maxwell  had  accompanied  the 
Nicollet  expedition  of  1839  and  already  was  acquainted  with  JCF;  but  his 
name  does  not  appear  in  the  vouchers  for  that  expedition.  A  voyageur  named 
Maxime  Maxwell  was  present  on  the  1838  expedition,  which  may  be  the 
source  of  some  confusion. 

Voucher  No.  37,  Kansas  Ford,  Mo.  Terr.,  15  June  1842 
U.S.  to  Louis  Pepin 

20  lbs.  coffee  5.00 

a  quantity  of  pumpkins  and  beans  3.00 


Signed  with  Pepin's  mark  and  witnessed  by  C.  Lambert.  Pepin  not  further 
identified.  The  name  may  be  "Papin,"  and  possibly  he  is  the  brother  of 
Joseph  Papin,  who  operated  a  ferry  at  the  site  of  Topeka  from  1840. 

Subvoucher,  New  Yor\,  6  May  1842 
U.S.  to  James  R.  Chilton 

1  set  of  Daguerreotype  apparatus  40.00 

25  polished  Daguerreotype  plates  37.50 

1  pocket  microscope  .75 


This  document  is  handled  as  a  subvoucher  because  it  is  not  carried  in  the 
regular  abstract  of  vouchers  for  the  quarter.  Dr.  James  R.  Chilton,  a  physician 
and  chemist  at  263  Broadway,  New  York,  supplied  daguerreotype  apparatus 
to  JCF  for  the  expeditions  of  1842  and  1843-44.  The  device  was  still  very 
new,  and  there  is  little  doubt  that  JCF  was  among  the  first  to  attempt  to 
photograph  the  West  with  such  equipment.  Some  of  the  lithographs  appearing 


in  the  Reports  and  Memoirs  are  undoubtedly  based  upon  daguerreotypes  or 
on  negatives  copied  by  Mathew  Brady  and  others.  Apparently  no  originals 
have  survived. 

Charles  Preuss,  in  a  belittling  mood  as  always,  had  no  patience  when  JCF 
tinkered  with  the  gadget.  "Yesterday  afternoon  and  this  morning  Fremont 
set  up  his  daguerreotype  to  photograph  the  rocks;  he  spoiled  five  plates  that 
way.  Not  a  thing  was  to  be  seen  on  them.  That's  the  way  it  often  is  with 
these  Americans.  They  know  everything,  can  do  everything,  and  when  they 
are  put  to  a  test,  they  fail  miserably"  (2  Aug.  1842,  preuss,  32).  When  JCF 
tried  again  on  5  Aug.,  Preuss  wrote,  "Today  he  said  the  air  up  here  is  too 
thin;  that  is  the  reason  his  daguerreotype  was  a  failure.  Old  boy,  you  don't 
understand  the  thing,  that  is  it"  (preuss,  35). 

Third  and  Fourth  Quarters,  1842 

Voucher  No.  1,  Fort  John,  Platte  River,  17  July  1842 
U.S.  to  Registe  Larente 

For  services  as  voyageur  48  days  @  1.00  per  diem,  27  May  to 
13  July  1842  48.00 

Signed  with  Larente's  mark  and  witnessed  by  C.  Lambert.  Larente  ap- 
parently was  the  only  employee  who  chose  to  leave  the  expedition  when  JCF 
outlined  the  dangers  which  lay  ahead  (see  p.  226). 

Voucher  No.  2,  Fort  Bissonette,  Laramie  For1{,  1  Sept.  1842 
U.S.  to  Sibille,  Adams  &  Co. 

20  July 

1  tomahawk  1.00 

3  Aug. 

A.  Lucier  and  his  mule  8  days  (^  2.00  16.00 

Joseph  Bissonnette  for  guide  and  interpreter,  8  days  @  13.00 

per  diem  104.00 

1  horse  paid  to  an  Indian  36.00 

1  Sept. 
12  cups  coffee  18.00,  6  cups  sugar  9.00  27.00 

Less  1  cow  and  calf  50.00 


Jean  Sibille  and  David  Adams  had  been  licensed  to  trade  with  the  Indians 
in  the  vicinity  of  Laramie  as  early  as  1841,  and  by  Jan.  1842  had  started  a  post 
they  called  Fort  Adams,  apparently  upstream  from  Fort  John.  They  then 
purchased  a  new  establishment  of  Lancaster  P.  Lupton's,  called  Fort  Platte. 


Thereafter,  one  hears  no  more  of  Fort  Adams,  and  the  new  owners  had 
finished  construction  of  Fort  Platte  by  Oct.  1842.  A  fragmentary  diary  kept 
by  Adams  records  finding  the  fort  "oil  finished  and  oil  the  boys  well  on  27 
October."  He  also  refers  to  another  partner  in  the  firm,  John  Richard;  to  "mr. 
besonat  [  Bissonette]";  and  "mr.  shatraw  [Chartrain],"  a  clerk. 

Dale  L.  Morgan,  who  has  supplied  the  above  information  from  the  Adams 
Papers,  MoSHi,  also  reports  that  A.  Lucier  had  been  an  employee  of  the 
Sibille  &  Adams  firm.  Joseph  Bissonette  (1818-94),  born  in  St.  Louis,  had 
come  to  the  Platte  region  at  the  age  of  eighteen  and  married  into  the  Sioux 
tribe.  He  worked  variously  as  a  company  trader  and  free  trader,  and  as  an 
interpreter  for  Indian  agents.  He  is  said  to  have  worked  as  late  as  1875  in 
persuading  Sioux  chiefs  Red  Cloud  and  Spotted  Tail  to  relinquish  the  Black 
Hills  in  Dakota  Territory  (j.  d.  mc  dermott  [2]). 

Voucher  No.  3,  Bellevue,  Mo.  Terr.,  4  Oct.  1842 
U.S.  to  P.  A.  Sarpy 

An  almost  illegible  voucher  for  goods  received  between  26  Sept.  and  3 
Oct.  1842,  including  food,  the  use  of  four  horses  and  men  for  four  days,  etc. 
The  largest  item  is  for  a  mackinaw  boat,  $166.00.  Total  charges,  $348.28.  In 
explaining  the  cost  of  such  items,  JCF  wrote:  "In  that  country  we  often  found 
a  difficulty  in  getting  anything  to  eat,  &  were  obligfd  to  take  what  we  could 
get  at  any  cost."  Peter  A.  Sarpy  (1805-65),  brother  of  John  B.  Sarpy  and  a 
skillful  barterer  with  the  Indians,  was  in  charge  of  the  post  at  Bellevue,  just 
north  of  the  junction  of  the  Platte  and  Missouri  rivers.  For  a  biography,  see 


Voucher  No.  4,  St.  Louts,  17  Oct.  1842 
U.S.  to  Clement  Lambert 

For  the  following  articles  furnished  to  Lt.  Fremont's  party 
of  25  men  on  their  voyage  down  the  Missouri  River,  from 
Bellevue  to  St.  Louis: 

apples  1.25,  3  tin  cups  25^,  1  lantern  1.00,  coffee  mill  1.25  3.75 

eggs  and  milk  1.25,  chickens  1.37^,  pork  1.00  3.62^ 

beef  2.00, 2  forks  25^,  butter  500,  milk  250  3.00 

turnips  37^0,  coffee  2.00,  sugar  1.00,  apples  1.00  4.37^ 

bread  1.75,  milk  500,  eggs  750,  coffee  750  3.75 

chickens  1.25,  honey  250,  milk  37-^  1.87^ 

poultry  2.00,  butter  750,  eggs  62^0,  honey  750  4.25 

milk  500,  whiskey  1.37^,  bacon  3.00  4.87^ 

sugar  1.25,  bread  1.00,  whiskey  500  2.75 

chickens,  eggs,  milk,  potatoes,  cabbage  1.75 

onions  500,  whiskey  1.00,  candles  750,  poultry  2.00  4.25 


eggs  750,  butter  1.25,  milk  50^,  bread  1.00  3.25 

whiskey  2.00,  bread  1%,  coffee  1.25,  milk  750  4.75 

eggs  1.00,  whiskey  1.00  2.00 


Voucher  No.  5,  St.  Louis,  31  Oct.  1842 
U.S.  to  Benjamin  Clapp 

1  barometer  35.00 

Voucher  No.  6,  St.  Louis,  31  Oct.  1842 
U.S.  to  Lucien  Maxwell 

For  services  as  hunter  @  1.66^  per  diem  for  152  days,  from  1 

July  to  31  Oct.  1842  234.75 

1  horse  70.00 

2  mules  90.00 


Voucher  No.  7,  St.  Louis,  31  Oct.  1842 
U.S.  to  /.  B.  L'Esperance 

For  12  days'  time  and  expenses  going  to  Lexington,  Mo.,  to 
collect  a  draft  for  $3,000  drawn  by  the  U.S.  on  the  Receiver 
of  Public  Moneys  at  Lexington  in  favor  of  Lt.  Fremont  66.25 

Endorsed  by  JCF:  "I  was  not  able  to  cash  the  above  draft  in  St.  Louis,  &  was 
obliged  to  hire  a  trustworthy  person  to  proceed  to  Lexington  as  it  was  neces- 
sary to  pay  off  my  men  as  soon  as  possible."  J.  B.  L'Esperance  not  further 

Voucher  No.  8,  St.  Louis,  31  Oct.  1842 
U.S.  to  Jean  B.  Lefevre 

For  service  as  voyageur  @  81|0  per  diem,  153  days  from 
26  May  to  26  Oct.  1842.  125.07 

Signed  with  Lefevre's  mark  and  witnessed  by  F.  V.  Pfister.  Pfister  was  a 
clerk  on  Laurel  Street  in  St.  Louis,  probably  working  for  P.  Chouteau,  Jr.,  and 



Voucher  No.  9,  St.  Louis,  31  Oct.  1842 
U.S.  to  ]ean  B.  Lefevre 

Transportation  of  19  horses  and  a  party  of  men  from  St. 
Louis  to  Chouteau's  Landing,  300  mi.  38.00 

Signed  with  Lefevre's  mark  and  witnessed  by  B.  Clapp. 

Voucher  No.  10,  St.  Louis,  31  Oct.  1842 
U.S.  to  Benjamin  Potra 

For  services  as  voyageur  @  66^  per  diem  for  153  days,  26 
May  to  26  Oct.  1842  100.98 

Signed  with  Potra's  mark  and  witnessed  by  John  B.  Sarpy.  Sarpy  (1798- 
1857)  was  one  of  the  most  active  and  influential  citizens  of  St.  Louis,  a  partner 
of  Pierre  Chouteau,  Jr.,  and  an  original  projector  of  the  Missouri  Pacific 
Railroad  (scharf,  1:580-83). 

Voucher  No.  11,  St.  Louis,  31  Oct.  1842 
U.S.  to  Louis  Guion 

For  services  as  voyageur  @  87^^  per  diem  for  102  days, 

20  July  to  31  Oct.  1842  89.25 

2  horses  @  70.00  each  140.00 


Signed  with  Guion's  mark  and  witnessed  by  John  B.  Sarpy. 

Voucher  No.  12,  St.  Louis,  31  Oct.  1842 
U.S.  to  ]ean  Baptiste  Dumes 

For  services  as  cook  @  75^  per  diem  for  153  days,  26  May 
to  26  Oct.  1842  114.75 

No  further  information  on  Dumes;  voucher  not  signed  or  witnessed. 

Voucher  No.  13,  St.  Louis,  31  Oct.  1842 
U.S.  to  Basil  Lajeunesse 

For  services  as  voyageur  @  75jz!  per  diem  for  153  days,  from 

26  May  to  26  Oct.  1842  114.75 

1  overcoat  lost  in  the  Platte  River,  in  the  service  of  the  U.S.         5.00 


Signed  with  Basil  Lajeunesse's  mark  and  witnessed  by  John  B.  Sarpy.  La- 
jeunesse also  accompanied  JCF  on  his  second  expedition  as  far  as  Fort  Hall, 


and  on  the  1845  expedition.  He  was  killed  by  the  Modocs  at  Klamath  Lake 
in  1846.  A  brother,  Francois,  who  had  been  one  of  Sir  William  Drummond 
Stewart's  employees  on  his  journey  of  1837,  was  with  JCF  in  1843-44. 

Voucher  No.  14,  St.  Louis,  31  Oct.  1842 
U.S.  to  Franfois  Tessier 

For  services  as  voyageur  @  62^0  per  diem  for  153  days, 
from  26  May  to  26  Oct.  1842  95.621 

Signed  with  Tessier's  mark  and  witnessed  by  John  B.  Sarpy.  No  further 
information  on  Tessier. 

Voucher  No.  15,  St.  Louis,  31  Oct.  1842 
U.S.  to  Benjamin  Cadot 

For  services  as  voyageur  @  62^0  per  diem  for  153  days, 
from  26  May  to  26  Oct.  1842  95.62^ 

Signed  with  Cadot's  mark  and  witnessed  by  John  B.  Sarpy.  A  man  named 
Benjamin  Cadot,  thirty-seven  years  of  age  and  of  Canadian  birth,  was  listed 
in  the  census  of  1860  at  the  Yankton  agency  (see  South  Dakota  Historical 
Collections,  10:436). 

Voucher  No.  16,  St.  Louis,  31  Oct.  1842 
U.S.  to  Joseph  Clement 

For  services  as  voyageur  @  66\(^  per  diem  for  153  days, 
from  26  May  to  26  Oct.  1842  101.75 

Signed  with  Clement's  mark  and  witnessed  by  John  B.  Sarpy.  Clement  not 
further  identified. 

Voucher  No.  17,  St.  Louis,  31  Oct.  1842 
U.S.  to  Daniel  Simonds 

For  services  as  voyageur  @  62^0  per  diem  for  153  days, 
from  26  May  to  26  Oct.  1842  95.62^ 

Signed  with  Simonds'  mark  and  witnessed  by  John  B.  Sarpy.  The  David 
Adams  Papers,  MoSHi,  contain  a  contract  between  Sibille  &  Adams  and 
"Daniel  Simons,"  in  which  Simons  signs  on  as  a  "common  hand"  for  a  Rocky 
Mountain  expedition.  He  signed  by  mark  in  Aug.  1841,  came  down  from  the 
mountains  with  Adams  in  the  spring  of  1842,  and  evidently  signed  on  with 
JCF  shortly  thereafter. 


Voucher  No.  18,  St.  Louis,  31  Oct.  1842 
U.S.  to  Leonard  Benoist 

For  services  as  voyageur  @  750  per  diem  for  153  days,  26 
May  to  26  Oct.  1842  114.75 

Benoist  not  further  identified. 

Voucher  No.  19,  St.  Louis,  31  Oct.  1842 
U.S.  to  Christopher  Carson 

For  services  as  guide  and  hunter  @  100.00  per  month  for 

3  months,  from  1  June  to  1  Sept.  1842  300.00 

1  mule  40.00 


Signed  with  Carson's  mark  and  witnessed  by  F.  V.  Pfister.  The  acquisition 
of  Christopher  Carson  (1809-68)  as  a  guide  was  a  stroke  of  luck  for  JCF  and 
the  beginning  of  a  long  friendship  between  the  young  explorer  and  the  ex- 
perienced Scotch-Irish  trapper  and  Indian  fighter.  Although  at  this  time  he 
was  unable  to  write  his  name,  he  could  converse  in  French,  Spanish,  and  sev- 
eral Indian  languages.  Later  he  would  share  honors  as  a  guide  with  his 
former  fellow  trapper,  Thomas  "Broken  Hand"  Fitzpatrick,  on  JCF's  sec- 
ond expedition,  and  as  a  member  of  the  third  venture  he  would  participate 
in  the  conquest  of  California.  After  the  Mexican  War  and  the  refusal  of  the 
Senate  to  confirm  his  commission  in  the  regular  Army,  Carson  settled  in 
Taos,  New  Mexico  Territory,  served  as  Indian  agent  for  the  Utes,  and  dictated 
the  story  of  his  life  to  John  Mostin,  probably  at  the  persuasion  of  Jesse  B. 
Turley.  For  biographical  background,  see  sabin  and  carson. 

Voucher  No.  20,  St.  Louis,  31  Oct.  1842 
U.S.  to  Michel  Marly 

For  services  as  voyageur  @  62^0  per  diem  for  153  days, 
from  26  May  to  26  Oct.  1842  95.62^ 

Michel  Marly,  born  in  St.  Louis  in  1820;  no  further  information. 

Voucher  No.  21,  St.  Louis,  31  Oct.  1842 
U.S.  to  Baptiste  Bernier 

For  services  as  voyageur  @  1.00  per  diem  for  153  days,  from 
26  May  to  26  Oct.  1842  153.00 

Signed  with  Bernier's  mark  and  witnessed  by  John  B.  Sarpy.  It  is  probably 
to  Baptiste  Bernier  that  Lucien  Fontenelle  referred  when  he  wrote  Andrew 
Drips  from  Fort  William,  1  Aug.  1835:  "young  Provost,  Bernier,  Bellaire  and 
others  are  hired  as  trappers"  (MoSHi — Drips  Papers). 

Voucher  No.  22,  St.  Louis,  31  Oct.  1842 
U.S.  to  Honore  Ayot 

For  services  as  voyageur  @  830  per  diem  for  153  days, 
from  26  May  to  26  Oct.  1842  126.99 

Signed  with  Ayot's  mark  and  witnessed  by  John  B.  Sarpy.  For  Ayot's  con- 
tract with  JCF,  see  Doc.  No.  42. 

Voucher  No.  23,  Fort  John,  Platte  River,  2  Sept.  1842 
U.S.  to  Franfois  Latulipe 

For  services  as  voyageur  @  1.00  per  diem  for  63  days,  from 

29  June  to  1  Sept.  1842  63.00 

For  one  horse  30.00 

12  buffalo  robes  for  pack  horses  25.00 


Signed  with  Latulippe's  mark  and  witnessed  by  C.  Lambert. 

Voucher  No.  24,  St.  Louis,  31  Oct.  1842 
U.S.  to  Franfois  Badeau 

For  services  as  voyageur  @  1.00  per  diem  for  153  days, 
from  26  May  to  26  Oct.  1842  153.00 

Signed  with  Badeau's  mark  and  witnessed  by  John  B.  Sarpy.  Badeau,  who 
also  went  on  the  second  expedition  and  was  described  by  JCF  as  being  one 
of  his  "most  faithful  and  efficient  men,"  was  accidentally  killed  by  his  own 
gun,  23  May  1844,  as  the  expedition  was  returning  home  and  was  buried  on 
the  banks  of  the  Sevier  River.  See  p.  697. 

Voucher  No.  25,  St.  Louis,  31  Oct.  1842 
U.S.  to  Louis  Menard 

For  services  as  voyageur  @  81|0  per  diem  for  153  days, 
from  26  May  to  26  Oct.  1842  125.07| 

The  name  Louis  Menard  is  so  common  that  it  is  difficult  to  identify  this 
man,  but  he  is  probably  the  same  Louis  L.  Menard  who  contracted  his 
services  as  a  boatman  on  the  upper  Missouri  in  May  1852  (MoSHi — P.  Chou- 
teau Maffitt  Collection).  Louis  Menard  was  also  on  Fremont's  second  expedi- 


Voucher  No.  26,  St.  Louis,  31  Oct.  1842 
U.S.  to  C.  Lambert 

For  services  as  camp  conductor  @  1.85|^  per  diem  for 
153  days,  26  May  to  26  Oct.  1842  278.07 

Voucher  No.  27,  St.  Louis,  31  Oct.  1842 
U.S.  to  Joseph  Ruelle 

For  services  as  voyageur  @  66^0  per  diem  for  153  days, 
26  May  to  26  Oct.  1842  101.75 

Signed  with  Ruelle's  mark  and  witnessed  by  John  B.  Sarpy.  The  name 
appears  often  in  the  records  of  Chouteau's  American  Fur  Company  (vols.  X 
and  GG)  from  1835  to  1845,  in  the  upper  Missouri  area.  According  to  g.  r. 
BROOKS  he  had  been  with  Robert  Campbell  in  1833  and  may  also  be  the  Joseph 
Ruel  who  married  Jeanne  Pichereau  on  3  July  1838  in  St.  Louis.  Ruelle  ob- 
tained a  judgment  in  St.  Louis,  21  Nov.  1844,  of  $40.75  against  Fremont  for 
a  gun  lost  on  the  expedition  (DNA-217,  T-135,  Statement  of  Differences  on 
Settlement  of  Fremont's  Accounts,  6  June  1849,  No.  7624,  p.  6). 

Voucher  No.  28,  St.  Louis,  31  Oct.  1842 
U.S.  to  Auguste  Janisse 

For  services  as  voyageur  @  87^0  per  diem  for  153  days, 
from  26  May  to  26  Oct.  1842  133.87^ 

Signed  with  Janisse's  mark  and  witnessed  by  John  B.  Sarpy.  The  name  ap- 
pears as  Auguste  Janis  in  the  CjG  ledger  of  P.  Chouteau,  Jr.,  and  Company. 
PREUss  and  his  editors  call  him  Johnny  Auguste  Janisse,  and  the  editors  say 
he  was  the  only  Negro  or  mulatto  among  JCF's  men  on  this  expedition.  He 
was  also  with  Stansbury  in  1849. 

Voucher  No.  29,  St.  Louis,  31  Oct.  1842 
U.S.  to  Moise  Chardonnais 

For  services  as  voyageur  @  75^  per  diem  for  153  days, 
from  26  May  to  26  Oct.  1842  144.75 

Signed  with  Chardonnais'  mark  and  witnessed  by  John  B.  Sarpy.  No  fur- 
ther identification  of  Chardonnais. 

Voucher  No.  30,  St.  Louis,  31  Oct.  1842 
U.S.  to  Raphael  Proue 

For  services  as  voyageur  @  75)^  per  diem  for  153  days,  from 
26  May  to  26  Oct.  1842  114.75 

The  faithful  Raphael  Proue  |  Proulx,  Proux]  would  continue  with  JCF  on 


his  second  and  third  ventures  as  well  as  the  disastrous  fourth  expedition  of 
1848  and  would  freeze  to  death  9  Jan.  1849  in  the  San  Juan  Mountains  of 
southwest  Colorado. 

Voucher  No.  31,  St.  Louis,  31  Oct.  1842 
U.S.  to  P.  Chouteau,  Jr.,  and  Company 

8  French  carts  280.00 

10  Spanish  saddles  60.00 

10  bridles  7.50 
30  halters  37.50 
30  white  oak  stakes  30.00 

11  saddle  blankets  8.25 
8  sets  harness  for  shaft  100.00 
8  sets  harness  for  French  carts  68.00 
4  Spanish  saddles  28.00 

3  bridles  and  martingales  9.75 
1  3-pt.  blue  blanket  10.00 
1  piece  Russia  sheeting  13.00 
1  lb.  patent  thread,  1.00,  1  bundle  cord,  75^  1.75 
1  blank  memorandum  book  .50 

1  box  tobacco,  148  lbs.  14.80 
10  lbs.  Vermillion  30.00 

4  doz.  fire  steels,  7.00,  1  gross  Indians  awls  2.20  9.20 
6  scalping  knives  18.00,  500  gun  flints  2.50  20.50 

2  buffalo  tongues,  12.00,  6  hams,  100  lbs.,  6.25  18.25 
310  lbs.  common  bacon  12.40 

2  barrels  pork  15.00,  2  barrels  flour  10.00  25.00 
4  barrels  pilot  bread  16.00,  1  barrel  butter  crackers  5.00  21.00 
50  lbs.  coffee  7.75 
6  lbs.  tea  6.00 
100  lbs.  sugar  and  keg  7.75 
23  lbs.  rice  and  keg  1.69 

3  loaves  white  sugar,  11^  lbs.  @  20^  2.30 
1  keg  50  proof  port  wine,  4  gals.  11.50 

1  keg  brandy,  4  gallons  11.50 
10  lbs.  common  soap  1.00 

2  lbs.  castile  soap  .75 
100  lbs.  bar  lead  5.00,  50  lbs.  gunpowder  15.00  20.00 
1  bag  shot  1.75, 1  ball  twine  250,  2  doz.  tent  pins  750  2.75 


11  yds.  Russia  sheeting  4.37 

spades  2.50,  1  coffee  mill  1.50  4.00 

J  doz.  mustard  3.00,  11  lbs.  sperm  candles  5,50  8.50 

6  lbs.  assorted  nails  600,  1  keg  tar  1.00  1.60 

1  can  100  proof  spirits  of  wine,  4  gals.  4.13 

J  doz.  matches  .25 

3  reams  wrapping  paper  7.50 
1  file  250,  1  pair  nippers  1.00,  2  doz.  spoons  750  2.00 
1  piece  canvas  for  cart  covers,  33|  yds.  5.03 

1  box  macaroni  5.38 

4  lead  lines  2.50 
3  bands  for  bacon  1 .87 
3  sheet  iron  kettles  6.60 

2  tin  kettles  1.50 

2  tin  pans  1.00,  1  doz.  tin  plates  1.50  2.50 
1  doz.  cups  630,  1  coffee  boiler  and  1  lantern  1.00  1.63 
6  knives  and  forks  1.25,  1  lb.  pepper  160,  2  augers  880  2.29 
1  drawing  knife  750,  1  hand  saw  1.25  2.00 
1  hatchet  1.50,  3  Collins  axes,  3.75  5.25 

3  balls  twine  750,  1  teakettle  1.00,  1  ball  lampwick  250  2.00 
1  bag  salt  400,  1  pineapple  cheese  1.25  '  1.65 
1  oven  and  lid  1.25 
1  frying  pan  .75 
paid  for  making  tent  15.00 

5  lbs.  saleratus  1.00 
1  can  linseed  oil,  2  gals.  4.00 
10  lbs.  Spanish  brown  paint  1.00,  1  brush  1.12  2.12 

1  rifle  given  to  Preuss  20.00 

2  mosquito  bars  8.00 
1  powder  horn  1.25 
drayages  1.50 


Commission  48.83 


Endorsed  by  JCF:  "At  the  time  when  this  expenditure  was  incurred  I  had 

not  yet  received  sufficient  funds  &  as  the  advanced  season  of  the  year  did 
not  permit  me  [to]  delay  the  setting  out  of  the  expedition,  I  had  recourse  to 
the  house  of  Chouteau  &  Co.  who  advanced  me  money,  transacted,  my  busi- 
ness &  charged  a  commission." 


Voucher  No.  32,  St.  Louis,  31  Oct.  1842 
U.S.  to  P.  Chouteau,  Jr.,  and  Company 

\7  horses  and  2  mules  970.62 

13  mules  520.00 

transportation  of  the  above  103.75 


Voucher  No.  33,  St.  Louis,  31  Oct.  1842 
U.S.  to  Bent,  St.  Vrain  &  Co. 

3  mules  135.00 

2  horses  50.00 

bunting  for  flag  25.00 

5  lb.  coffee  10.00 

1  comb  -50 

1  piece  rope  1-QQ 


Bent,  St.  Vrain  &  Co.,  with  a  branch  post  (Fort  St.  Vrain)  on  the  South 
Platte  and  Bent's  Fort  on  the  Arkansas,  ranked  next  to  P.  Chouteau,  Jr.,  and 
Company  in  the  amount  of  business  transacted  during  this  period.  The  busi- 
ness included  trading  with  the  Indians  and  raising  horses  and  mules. 

Voucher  No.  34,  St.  Louis,  31  Oct.  1842 
U.S.  to  J.  &  S.  Hawken 

For  splicing  gun  stock  1-50 

fly  on  lock  -50 

cleaning  double-barreled  gun  -75 

hind  sight  on  rifle  -50 


Voucher  No.  35,  Washington,  1  Nov.  1842 
U.S.  to  Charles  Preuss 

For  transportation  of  13  boxes  containing  instruments  for 

surveys  from  Washington  to  New^  York  2.37^ 

from  New  York  to  Buffalo  6.2 ^ 

from  Buffalo  to  Chicago  3.27^ 

from  Chicago  to  St.  Louis  3.37^ 



Voucher  No.  36,  Washitigton,  31  Oct.  1842 
U.S.  to  Charles  Preuss 

For  services  rendered  to  the  U.S.  as  assistant  to  Lt.  J.  C. 
Fremont  in  the  survey  of  the  Platte  and  Kansas  rivers  for 
184  days,  from  1  May  to  1  Nov.  1842,  @  3.00  per  diem  552.00 

Voucher  No.  37,  Washington,  24  Nop.  1842 
U.S.  to  Thomas  W.  Burch 

for  making  1  drawing  table  and  shelves  7.00 

Thomas  W.  Burch  not  further  identified. 

Voucher  No.  38,  Washington,  1  Dec.  1842 
U.S.  to  Charles  Preuss 

For  services  rendered  to  the  U.S.  as  assistant  to  Lt.  J.  C.  Fre- 
mont in  constructing  maps  of  surveys  west  of  the  Missis- 
sippi for  30  days,  from  1  to  30  Nov.  1842  90.00 

Voucher  No.  39,  Baltimore,  5  Dec.  1842 
U.S.  to  J.  N.  Nicollet 

For  services  rendered  to  the  U.S.  as  superintendent  of  Sur- 
veys West  of  the  Mississippi  for  92  days,  from  1  Aug.  to 
31  Oct.  1842,  @  8.00  per  diem  736.00 

Voucher  No.  40,  St.  Louis,  28  Dec.  1842 
U.S.  to  Osea  Harmiyo 

For  services  as  voyageur  @  50<z'  per  diem  for  113  days,  from  9 
July  to  31  Oct.  1842  36.50 

Signed  with  Harmiyo's  mark  and  witnessed  by  Hfenry]  R.  Brant.  The 
spelling  is  phonetic  for  Jose  Armijo,  a  young  Spaniard  hired  at  Fort  St.  Vrain. 
See  below,  pp.  204-5.  Henry  B.  Brant,  the  nineteen-year-old  son  of  Lieut. 
Col.  Joshua  B.  and  Sarah  Benton  Brant,  of  St.  Louis,  accompanied  the  expedi- 
tion as  far  as  Fort  Laramie — together  with  John  Randolph  Benton,  the  twelve- 
year-old  brother  of  Jessie.  Here  the  two  young  men  were  left  because  of 
possible  encounters  with  hostile  Indians.  In  the  fall,  when  the  expedition 
returned  to  the  settlements,  JCF  sold  at  public  auction  in  Bellevue  much  of 
the  equipment  that  was  still  intact — such  as  carts,  harnesses,  horses,  mules, 
rifles,  and  saddles — and  it  was  Henry  B.  Brant  who  later  swore  to  the  correct- 
ness of  the  $910  bill  of  sale  (see  Bill  of  Sale,  DNA-217,  T-135,  9  Feb.  1843). 


Voucher  No.  2,  St.  Louis,  16  Jan.  1843 
U.S.  to  Joseph  Bougar 

For  services  as  voyageur  @  $1.00  per  diem,  for  144  days, 
from  9  June  to  31  October  1842  144.00 

Signed  with  Joseph  Bougar's  mark  and  witnessed  by  H.  B.  Brant.  Bougar 
is  not  listed  in  JCF's  reports  or  the  Memoirs  as  being  a  part  of  the  expedi- 
tion; yet  he  must  have  joined  just  as  the  party  was  ready  to  leave  Cyprian 
Chouteau's  trading  house  on  the  Kansas  River.  An  order  of  William  Kenceleur 
to  P.  Chouteau,  Jr.,  and  Company,  to  pay  Bougar  |82.00  indicates  that  he  was 
at  the  Vermillion  Post  [Kansas]  on  11  May  1842  (MoSHi — P.  Chouteau 
Maffitt  Collection). 

All  the  above  documents  are  in  DNA-217,  Third  Auditor's  Reports  and  Ac- 
counts, Acct.  No.  16962,  except  voucher  nos.  35  and  36  in  the  first  and  second 
quarters,  no.  31  and  no.  40  in  third  and  fourth  quarters,  and  the  subvoucher 
to  Chilton,  all  of  which  are  on  roll  No.  1  of  DNA  microfilm  T-135 — a 
special  consolidated  file  of  JCF  accounts. 

54.  Asa  Gray  to  John  Torrey 

Monday  Morning  [Feb.  1843],  Cambridge 
My  Dear  Friend 

I  conclude  to  send  you  a  small  parcel  instead  of  a  letter.  Enclosed 
is  a  hasty  determination  of  the  Fremont  plants  now  in  my  hands.  I 
found  ripe  seeds  of  the  first  two  of  the  list,  which  I  hope  to  grow. 
Both  are  worthy  of  being  figured,  although  the  first  only  is  showy. 

I  found  Hooker's^  letter  [not  found]  dated  so  far  back  as  Nov.  10, 
and  send  it  for  your  perusal,  I  think  some  arrangement  such  as  he 
desires  may  be  made  respecting  the  Antarctic  collections.  The  Ore- 
gon and  Califn.  I  hope  will  somehow  tumble  into  our  hands.  Please 
send  back  his  letter  (by  mail  if  you  are  not  sending  a  parcel)  early 
next  week,  as  I  must  answer  it  on  the  1st  prox.  .  .  . 

Engelmann  writes  about  his  friend  Dr.  Lindheimer,  who  wants  to 
collect  in  Texas  &c. — and  offer  plants  for  sale,  at  $8-10  per  hundred. 
he  Sm  I  to  vouch  for  generic  names. — advertise  in  Silliman. — I  shall 
write  to  him  on  the  subject,  securing  that  all  shall  pass  thro'  our 
hands.  I  think  I  will  advise  him  to  send  him  to  Rky.  Mts.  with  some 
of  the  parties  that  will  be  sure  to  be  going  if  the  Oregon  bill 
passes.  As  he  is  a  Doctor — a  pretty  good  botanist,  I  guess,  and  makes 


very  good  specimens  of  the  right  kind — flowers — fruit  &c. — why  not 
recommend  him  to  Fremont  &  Col.  Abert,  and  get  him  a  place?  I 
think  we  cannot  do  better.  If  you  think  so  please  act  upon  the  sug- 
gestion without  delay.  The  more  collectors  we  can  get  into  the  field 
the  better,  Buckley"  &  all. 

•  •  •  • 

Your  affectionate, 

A.  Gray 


1.  Sir  William  Jackson  Hooker  (1785-1865),  director  of  Kew  Gardens  in 
London  and  a  highly  respected  English  botanist.  He  had  published  a  well 
known  work  on  North  American  botany,  Flora  Boreali- Americana  (London, 

2.  Persons  mentioned  in  this  paragraph  include  Dr.  Ferdinand  Jakob  Lind- 
heimer  (1801-79),  a  German  botanist  who  was  visiting  in  St.  Louis.  He  had 
fought  in  the  war  for  Texan  independence  and,  encouraged  by  Engelmann, 
was  about  to  return  to  Texas  on  a  collecting  expedition  (geiser).  Benjamin 
Silliman  (1779-1864)  was  publisher  of  the  ArHerican  Journal  of  Science  and 
Arts,  a  pioneer  work  of  its  kind  in  the  United  States.  Samuel  Botsford  Buck- 
ley (1809-83),  botanist  and  field  naturalist,  later  became  state  geologist  of 
Texas.  Gray  held  Buckley  in  low  esteem  (particularly  for  daring  to  publish 
new  species,  some  considered  valid  today,  on  his  own!)  and  his  remark 
twitches  with  feeling. 

Asa  Gray  had  proposed  that  Lindheimer  be  sent  to  the  Rockies  and  Oregon 
for  further  collecting,  possibly  with  JCF.  "Fremont  will  not  take  Geyer;  but  I 
believe  he  wants  some  one.  The  interesting  region  (the  most  so  in  the  world) 
is  the  high  Rocky  Mountains  about  the  sources  of  the  Platte  &  thence  South!!" 
(Gray  to  Engelmann,  13  Feb.  1843,  MoSB).  Gray's  enthusiasm  for  western 
flora  contributed  much  to  botanical  knowledge  of  the  region,  but  it  was  not 
until  1872  that  he  was  able  to  go  to  the  Rockies  himself  and  see  the  vegetation 
that  he  had  studied  for  a  lifetime. 

55.  J.  J.  Abcrt  to  Thomas  H.  Benton 

Bureau  of  Topographical  Engr. 
Washington  March  10th  1843 

I  have  the  honor  to  acknowledge  the  receipt  of  your  letter  of  the 
7th  inst.  and  to  thank  you  for  your  suggestions  in  reference  to  the 
Survey  now  required  in  the  vicinity  of  the  Rocky  Mountains.  Be  as- 
sured that  they  will  receive  the  greatest  attention.  A  sketch  embrac- 


ing  your  views  has  been  enclosed  to  Mr.  Fremont  in  order  to  obtain 
from  him  the  customary  estimate.  Very   Respectfully  Your  Obt. 


J.  J.  Abert 

CI.  C.  T.  E. 

Lbk  (DNA-77,  LS,  6:152).  Benton's  letter  is  not  found,  but  the  "sketch"  is 
an  enclosure  with  Doc.  No.  56. 

56.  J.  J.  Abert  to  Fremont 

Bureau  of  Topographical  Engs. 
Washington  March  10th  1843 

You  will  please  to  give  immediate  attention  to  your  accounts,  as  it 
is  necessary,  both  by  the  laws  &  regulations  that  these  should  be  ad- 
justed. Before  the  Bureau  can  decide  upon  any  orders  for  your  duties 
during  the  ensuing  season,  it  is  necessary  that  you  should  submit  an 
estimate  in  detail  of  the  probable  expence,  embracing  the  whole  or  a 
part  of  the  sketch  of  duties  a  copy  of  which  is  enclosed.  Very  Re- 
spectfully Your  Obt.  Servt. 

J.  J.  Abert 
C.  C.  T.  E. 

To  proceed  to  the  main  forks  of  the  Kansas  river,  determine  their 
position  and  thence  survey  the  main  stream  to  its  head.  From  the 
head  of  the  Kansas  to  fall  directly  on  to  the  Arkansas  and  survey  it 
to  its  head,  crossing  the  mountains  by  that  prong  which  forms  the 
boundary  between  the  United  States  and  Mexico.  Continuing  along 
the  western  base  of  the  mountains  and  crossing  the  heads  of  all  the 
streams  which  take  their  rise  in  that  portion  of  the  mountains,  join 
on  to  your  positions  of  1842  on  the  Colorado  of  the  Gulf  of  Cali- 
fornia. Thence  continuing  north-westwardly  across  the  waters  of  the 
Columbia,  turn  westwardly  into  the  Flat-head  Country,  and  join  on 
to  Lieut.  Wilkes'  Survey.  From  that  point  to  return  by  the  Oregon 
road,  and  on  again  reaching  the  mountains,  diverge  a  litde  and  make 
a  circuit  of  the  Wind  river  chain,  which  is  about  eighty  miles  long. 


This  circuit  would  embrace  within  its  Umits  the  heads  of  the  Colo- 
rado, the  Columbia,  some  of  the  heads  of  the  Missouri  proper,  the 
Yellowstone  and  the  Platte. 

Lbk  (DNA-77,  LS,  6:151).  Senator  Benton's  influence  upon  Colonel  Abert, 
and  his  role  as  the  man  behind  the  scenes  in  the  rise  of  JCF's  career,  is  evi- 
dent here.  Benton  writes  JCF's  orders,  obviously  after  consultation  with  the 
young  lieutenant,  and  Abert — in  a  sense — merely  ratifies  them.  But  Abert  is 
not  a  cipher,  as  Benton  and  the  Fremonts  later  portrayed  him;  his  views 
happened  to  correspond  to  Benton's  in  the  matter  of  western  expansion. 
"Abert  could  not,  as  did  Senator  Benton,  intrigue  on  behalf  of  a  special  policy 
of  imperial  aggrandizement,  nor  could  he  initiate  a  legislative  policy  for  the 
West"  (goetzmann,  66). 

These  are  the  orders  for  JCF's  expedition  of  1843-44  which  will  take  him 
into  California.  Yet  nothing  in  the  orders  indicates  that  he  has  this  discretion; 
he  is,  in  fact,  to  return  down  the  eastern  side  of  the  Wind  River  Mountains 
in  Wyoming — having  explored  the  western  slopes  in  1842, 

Charles  Wilkes  (1798-1877),  naval  officer  and  explorer,  had  just  completed 
a  long  voyage  which  had  begun  in  Aug.  1838  and  had  taken  him  to  the 
Antarctic,  certain  islands  of  the  Pacific,  and  the  northwest  coast  of  North 
America.  Benton's  interest  in  Oregon  makes  him  eager  to  extend  Wilkes' 
coastal  observations  into  the  interior. 

57.  Fremont  to  John  Torrey 

Washington  City  March  11th  1843 
My  dear  Sir, 

Your  favor  of  the  27th  with  the  enclosure  came  safely  to  hand.  I 
think  that  it  would  be  unjust  to  you  were  I  to  write  a  preface  to  the 
catalogue  of  plants  and  would  be  assuming  for  myself  a  knowledge 
that  I  do  not  possess.  I  claim  no  other  credit  than  what  may  be  due 
to  having  collected  them  under  circumstances  of  considerable  hard- 
ship and  privation.  From  the  mouth  of  the  Kansas  river  to  the  Red 
buttes,  I  had  with  me  a  number  of  carts  which  afforded  means  to 
transport  the  plants  conveniently,  but  from  that  place  our  examina- 
tion of  the  country  was  made  on  horseback.  To  accomplish  the  ex- 
ploration on  which  I  had  been  sent  required  very  rapid  movements 
and  it  was  impossible  for  me  to  give  to  the  plants  the  time  necessary  to 
arrange  them  properly.  We  were  in  a  savage  and  inhospitable  coun- 
try, sometimes  annoyed  by  the  Indians  and  frequently  in  great  dis- 
tress from  want  of  provisions,  and  when  you  join  to  these  things  the 


various  duties  which  were  constantly  claiming  my  attention,  you 
will  readily  make  an  allowance  for  the  bad  condition  of  the  collec- 
tion I  sent  you.  It  was  made  under  very  unfavorable  circumstances, 
and  in  the  intervals  of  very  pressing  duties. 

Casting  your  eye  on  the  small  sketch  I  sent  you,  you  will  see  that 
our  line  of  road  is  generally  along  the  bottoms  of  the  Kansas  tribu- 
taries and  sometimes  over  the  upper  prairies.  The  soil  of  the  river 
bottoms  is  always  rich,  and  generally  well  timbered,  though  the 
whole  region  is  what  is  called  a  prairie  country.  The  upper  prairies 
are  an  immense  deposit  of  sand  and  gravel,  covered  with  a  good  and 
very  generally  a  rich  soil.  Along  the  road  on  reaching  the  little 
stream  called  Sandy  creek,  the  soil  became  more  sandy.  The  geologi- 
cal formation  of  this  position  is  lime — and  sand-stone.  The  Amorpha 
was  the  characteristic  plant,  in  many  places  being  as  abundant  as  the 
grass.  From  its  mouth  to  the  junction  of  its  main  forks  the  valley  of 
the  Platte  generally  about  four  miles  broad  is  rich  and  well  timbered, 
covered  with  luxuriant  grasses.  The  large  purple  Aster  ?  was  here  the 
characteristic,  flourishing  in  great  magnificence.  From  the  junction 
to  Laramie's  fork  the  country  may  be  called  a  sandy  one;  the  valley 
of  the  stream  is  without  timber,  but  still  the  grasses  are  fine  and 
plants  abundant.  On  our  return  in  September  the  whole  valley 
looked  like  a  garden.  It  was  yellow  with  fields  of  sunflower  which 
was  the  characteristic. 

Between  these  two  main  forks  of  the  Platte,  and  from  the  junction 
to  Laramie's  fork  the  formation  consists  of  a  calcareous  marl,  a  soft 
earthy  limestone,  and  a  granitic  sandstone.  In  the  region  traversed 
from  Laramie's  fork  to  the  mouth  of  the  Sweet  water  river  the  soil 
is  generally  sandy,  the  formation  consisting  of  a  variety  of  sandstones 
— yellow  and  gray  sandstones  a  red  argillaceous  sandstone  with  com- 
pact gypsum  or  alabaster  and  fine  conglomerates.  The  Sweet  Water 
valley  is  a  sandy  plain  about  120  miles  long,  and  generally  about  5 
miles  broad,  bounded  by  ranges  of  granitic  mountains  between 
which  the  valley  formation  consists  near  the  Devil's  gate  of  a  grayish 
micaceous  sandstone  and  fine  grained  conglomerate  with  a  fine 
grained  white  sandstone.  Proceeding  twenty  or  thirty  miles  up  the 
valley  we  find  a  white  sandstone  alternating  with  white  clay  and 
white  clayey  sandstone.  At  our  encampment  of  August  5th-6th  we 
found  a  fine  white  clayey  sandstone — a  coarse  sandstone  or  pud- 
dingstone  and  white  calcareous  sandstone.  A  few  miles  to  the  west 


of  that  position  we  reached  a  point  where  the  sandstone  reposed  im- 
mediately upon  the  granite,  which  thenceforward  along  our  line  of 
route  alternated  with  a  compact  clay  slate. 

We  crossed  the  dividing  ridge  on  the  8th  of  August  &  found  the 
soil  of  the  plains  at  the  foot  of  the  mountains  on  the  western  side  to 
be  sandy,  being  the  decomposition  of  the  neighbouring  granite 
mountains.  From  Laramie's  fork  to  this  point  Artemesia  was  the 
characteristic  plant,  occupying  the  place  of  the  grasses,  and  filling 
the  air  with  its  odour  of  camphor  and  spirits  of  turpentine.  On  the 
morning  of  the  10th  we  entered  the  defile  of  the  Wind  river  moun- 

I  hope  that  what  I  have  hastily  said  above  will  enable  you  to  write 
a  short  preface  to  the  catalogue  and  I  would  be  exceedingly  indebted 
to  you  if  you  could  send  it  with  the  2d  part  of  the  catalogue  in  order 
that  I  may  introduce  it  into  the  report.  The  work  is  now  in  the 
hands  of  the  printer  but  I  will  delay  its  publication  some  days  until 
I  hear  from  you.  Should  you  find  it  proper  to  refer  in  your  preface 
to  heights  above  the  sea  I  will  fill  up  any  blanks  you  may  leave.  In 
a  few  days  I  will  reply  to  some  other  points  in  your  letter  and  in  the 
mean  time  beg  you  to  let  me  hear  from  you  as  soon  as  will  suit  your 
convenience,  as  I  am  exceedingly  pressed  &  should  be  very  sorry  to 
publish  the  catalogue  incomplete.  Very  truly  yours, 

J.  C.  Fremont, 
I  had  just  written  the  above  when  I  received  your  note  with  the 
2d  part  of  the  catalogue.  I  am  sure  I  need  not  tell  you  how  much 
gratified  I  am  that  it  has  arrived  in  time  for  publication.  I  will  put  it 
to-day  in  the  hands  of  the  printer  and  the  proofs  shall  be  forwarded 
to  you  at  Princeton  as  soon  as  they  are  struck.  This  letter  is  already 
very  long  &  I  will  not  add  to  it  by  expressing  my  thanks  of  which 
you  are  I  know  assured.  Believe  me  yours  truly, 

J.  C.  Fremont. 

ALS-JBF,  RC  (NNNBG).  While  many  letters  from  JCF  to  Torrey  have 
survived,  we  have  only  a  printed  excerpt  of  a  letter  from  Torrey  to  JCF 
(July  1848).  Torrey 's  27  Feb.  suggestion  that  Fremont  write  the  preface  to  the 
catalogue  of  plants  was  a  courteous  one,  but  as  the  document  indicates,  JCF 
refused.  Torrey  did  write  the  preface,  presented  with  his  catalogue  as  an 
addendum  to  the  report  of  the  expedition  (our  Doc.  No.  61). 



58.  J.  J.  Abert  to  Fremont 

Bureau  of  Topographical  Engineers 
Washington  March  14th  1843 

I  have  to  inform  you  that  a  requisition  has  been  this  day  made  in 
your  favor  for  twelve  hundred  Dollars. 

You  will  please  pay  Mr.  Nicollet  the  amount  that  may  be  due  him 
for  services  to  the  10th  inst.  inclusive,  on  which  day  his  employment 

You  will  repair  to  Baltimore  in  order  to  adjust  Mr.  Nicollet's  ac- 
count and  to  receive  from  him  the  public  instruments  which  he  has 
to  return  for  which  you  will  please  to  give  the  customary  receipts, 
after  which  you  will  return  to  this  place  and  report.  Very  Respect- 
fully Your  Obt.  Servt. 

J.  J.  Abert 
Col.  C.  T.  E. 

Lbk  (DNA-77,LS,  6:161). 

59.  Thomas  H.  Benton  to  Fremont 

Washington  City,  March  20.  1843. 
Dear  Sir, 

In  the  very  important  expedition  which  you  are  fitting  out  to  the 
region  beyond  the  Rocky  Mountains,  and  to  complete  the  gap  in 
the  Surveys  between  the  South  Pass  and  the  head  of  tidewater  in  the 
Columbia,  the  officer  in  command  has  to  appear  to  the  Indians  as 
the  representative  of  the  government,  and  not  as  the  officer  of  a  bu- 
reau. To  them  he  represents  the  government,  and  as  such  he  must 
make  presents,  or  bring  both  himself  and  his  government  into  con- 
tempt. This  is  an  expense  which  belongs  to  the  Indian  department 
more  than  to  the  Topographical  bureau,  and  I  repeat  to  you,  as  my 
opinion,  that  you  should  apply  to  the  Secretary  at  War  for  a  part  of 
the  contingencies,  or  a  part  of  the  appropriations  for  Indian  presents, 
for  this  object.  There  is  no  danger  of  getting  too  much,  and  one  or 


two  thousand  dollars  would  be  quite  small  for  the  number  of  In- 
dians who  will  be  encountered.  On  any  account,  both  as  it  concerns 
the  success  of  the  expedition,  the  respectability  of  the  government, 
and  the  future  friendship  of  the  Indians,  it  is  indispensable  that  the 
officer  who  carries  the  flag  of  the  U.  States  into  these  remote  regions, 
should  carry  presents.  All  savages  expect  them:  they  even  demand 
them;  and  they  feel  contempt  &  resentment  if  disappointed.  Respect- 
fully, Sir  Yr.  Obt.  Servant, 

Thomas  H.  Benton 

ALS,  RC  (CSmH). 

60.  Fremont  to  John  Torrey 

Washington  City  March  21st  1843 

My  dear  Sir, 

Yours  of  the  14th  with  the  enclosure  came  safely  to  hand  yester- 
day— I  beg  you  to  accept  my  thanks  for  the  preface  to  your  Cata- 
logue, which  I  find  exceedingly  interesting,  &  am  happy  to  say  is  in 
time  for  the  printer.  Herewith  I  send  you  a  corrected  sheet,  which 
has  still  some  errors,  but  I  think  you  will  find  it  more  free  from 
them,  than  proof  sheets  generally  are.  The  printer  desires  me  to  say, 
that  having  no  Greek  characters,  he  has  supplied  their  place  for  the 
moment  with  the  usual  letters,  but  has  sent  to  Baltimore  for  them, 
and  you  will  find  them  inserted  in  the  final  sheets,  together  with 
some  other  omissions.  It  will  give  me  pleasure  to  furnish  you  with 
the  number  of  Catalogues  you  mention. 

There  was  an  error  in  my  letter,  relative  to  the  fact  of  the  clay 
slate  alternating  with  granite;  it  should  have  been  mica  slate,  which 
is  one  of  the  predominant  rocks  in  that  quarter.  In  Equisetum  ar- 
vense  of  the  Catalogue,  is  "arvense"  right?  Among  the  plants  col- 
lected on  the  Sandy  river,  (branch  of  the  Colorado)  on  our  return, 
was  a  portion  of  an  artemisia  (?)  can  you  tell  me  if  this  is  an  arte- 
misia,  &  if  so,  what  one?  I  am  anxious  to  know,  as  this  is  the  plant 
with  the  odour  of  camphor  &  spirits  of  turpentine,  which  I  men- 
tioned in  my  letter  as  being  highly  characteristic.  There  is  one  plant 
among  the  collection  of  which  I  am  very  desirous  to  know  the 


name;  I  met  with  in  fields  in  full  bloom  filling  the  air  with  fra- 
grance, &  almost  entirely  covering  the  bottom  land  of  the  South 
Fork  of  the  Platte,  within  some  twenty  miles  of  the  Rocky  Mts.  &  at 
an  elevation  of  between  5,  and  6000  feet.  I  did  not  see  it  again  until  I 
reached  the  valley  of  the  Sweetwater  near  the  Devils  Gate,  which  is 
at  about  the  same  elevation.  I  cannot  describe  it  to  you  from  mem- 
ory, although  I  should  recognize  it  immediately.  It  is  about  the  size 
of  the  amorpha  &  the  predominant  colour  of  the  flowers,  is  the  pur- 
ple hue  of  the  amorpha.  One  perfectly  white,  which  is  however  seen 
but  rarely,  amid  the  fields  of  purple  flowers,  and  one  of  a  light  blue, 
almost  as  frequent  as  the  purple  colour.  Is  it  "Lupinus  leucophyllus" 
or  is  it  perhaps  an  amorpha  ? 

I  have  purposely  delayed  replying  to  an  occasional  enquiry  in 
some  of  your  letters  as  to  whether  or  not  I  should  be  able  to  take 
with  me  a  botanist,  in  order  that  I  might  be  in  possession  of  infor- 
mation, which  would  enable  me  to  give  you  a  definite  answer.  I  find 
for  various  strong  reasons,  that  I  shall  not  be  able  to  do  so,  but  still  I 
contemplate  doing  something  for  your  favourite  science.  Can  we  not 
do  something  together  ?  Is  it  not  customary  sometimes  for  collectors, 
unskilled  as  myself  to  publish  their  plants  in  partnership  with,  &  un- 
der the  shadow  of,  the  standard  names  in  the  science.  I  do  not  know 
if  I  am  asking  too  much,  but  if  I  am  not,  I  should  be  glad  if  you 
would  write  to  me  on  the  subject,  and  I  think  something  good 
may  be  done.^  The  following  is  a  brief  outline  of  my  expedition  for 
the  present  year.  I  shall  leave  this  city  about  the  5th  of  April  &  be- 
fore the  1st  of  May  shall  be  beyond  the  western  frontier  of  Missouri. 
I  propose  crossing  the  mountains  to  the  South  of  the  Great  Pass, — 
range  along  their  western  bases, — visit  the  mountainous  region  of 
the  Flathead  country,  probably  go  as  far  down  as  Fort  Vancouver, 
and  return  by  the  heads  of  the  Missouri.  This  you  will  see,  aflfords  a 
fine  range  for  botanical  researches,  and  should  my  veiws  meet  your 
approbation,  a  few  words  of  instruction  from  you  would  be  very 
beneficial  to  me.  By  the  time  you  return  the  proof  sheets  of  the 
Catalogue  the  whole  report  will  be  ready  for  the  Binder. 

I  should  be  glad  to  hear  from  you  on  the  subject  of  this  letter,  &  in 
the  meanwhile  I  am  Very  truly  yours, 

J.  Charles  Fremont 


1.  JCF's  reluctance  to  take  professional  scientists  on  his  expeditions,  and 


his  desire  to  collaborate  with  men  such  as  Torrey  in  describing  and  naming 
his  collections,  eventually  became  a  topic  of  comment.  Asa  Gray  wrote  to 
Torrey  on  8  March  1845  that  he  believed  JCF  wanted  all  the  scientific  glory. 
"He  ought  to  be  above  it,  and  to  aim  higher;  but  indeed,  it  is  hardly  to  be 
expected"  (NNNBG). 


61.  Report  of  the  First  Expedition,  1843 

Editorial  note:  This  account  was  first  published  in  1843  as  Senate 
Doc.  243,  27th  Cong.,  3rd  sess.,  under  the  title:  A  Report  of  an  Ex- 
ploration of  the  Country  Lying  between  the  Missouri  River  and  the 
Roc\y  Mountains  on  the  Line  of  the  Kansas  and  Great  Platte  Rivers. 
It  was  speedily  sent  to  the  Senate  after  JCF  had  completed  the  man- 
uscript, for  it  had  been  long  delayed.  JCF  presented  it  to  Colonel 
Abert  on  1  March  1843,  and  on  the  following  day  it  went  directly 
to  Secretary  of  War  John  Canfield  Spencer.  In  a  covering  letter, 
Abert  explained  that  the  delay  "was  not  owing  to  any  want  of  in- 
dustry on  the  part  of  Lieut.  Fremont,  but  to  the  great  amount  of 
matter  which  had  to  be  introduced  in  the  report  and  the  many  cal- 
culations which  had  to  be  made,  of  the  astronomical  &  barometrical 
observations,  the  necessary  labor  on  these  accounts  has  delayed  the 
completion  of  the  report  until  today"  (DNA-77,  LS,  6:141). 

On  2  March  the  Senate  ordered  the  report  to  be  printed,  and  the 
next  day  a  resolution  provided  that  "nine  hundred  additional  copies 
be  furnished  for  the  use  of  the  Senate,  and  one  hundred  copies  for 
the  use  of  the  Topographical  Bureau."  It  was  later  to  be  combined 
with  the  report  of  the  1843-44  expedition  and  widely  distributed  by 
trade  publishers. 

"I  write  more  easily  by  dictation,"  JCF  said  many  years  later,  and 
".  .  .  therefore  the  labor  of  amanuensis,  commencing  at  this  early 
time,  has  remained  with  Mrs.  Fremont"  (memoirs,  163).  We  have 
already  noted  that  Jessie  did  indeed  produce  a  great  number  of  the 
documents  attributed  to  her  husband.  There  is,  however,  a  surviving 
manuscript  draft  of  this  report  in  the  National  Archives  (DNA-77) 
which  is  much  less  a  joint  effort  than  JCF's  comment  would  indi- 
cate. The  first  nineteen  sheets  are  in  Jessie's  hand,  and  the  remainder 
in  JCF's  with  some  corrections  and  refinements  in  Jessie's.  Where 


the  manuscript  draft  differs  materially  from  the  printed  version,  we 
indicate  the  difference  in  a  note. 

In  a  brief  explanation  to  the  reader  at  the  beginning  of  the  report, 
JCF  explains:  "For  the  Mineralogical  Character  of  the  Rocks  men- 
tioned in  the  course  of  the  following  report,  I  am  indebted  to  Mr. 
James  D.  Dana,  of  the  late  Exploring  Expedition  to  the  South  Seas. 
The  Collection  of  Plants  made  during  my  exploration  was  placed  in 
the  hands  of  Dr.  John  Torrey,  who  prepared  the  catalogue  which 
is  annexed  to  the  narrative."  James  Dwight  Dana  (1813-95)  had 
recently  returned  from  serving  with  Charles  Wilkes.  He  was  a  pro- 
fessor at  Yale,  author  of  standard  works  in  geology,  and  editor  of 
the  American  Journal  of  Science. 

Despite  our  usual  adherence  to  the  policy  of  presenting  documents 
in  chronological  order,  we  have  placed  this  report  slightly  out  of 
order  so  that  it  may  appear  at  the  end  of  this  division  of  the  volume. 


Washington,  March  1,  1843 
To  CoL.  J.  J.  Abert, 

Chief  of  the  Corps  of  Topographical  Engineers: 

Sir:  Agreeably  to  your  orders  to  explore  and  report  upon  the 
country  between  the  frontiers  of  Missouri  and  the  South  Pass  in  the 
Rocky  mountains,  and  on  the  line  of  the  Kansas  and  Great  Platte 
rivers,  I  sat  out  from  Washington  city  on  the  2d  day  of  May,  1842, 
arrived  at  St.  Louis,  by  way  of  New  York,  the  22d  of  May,  where 
the  necessary  preparations  were  completed,  and  the  expedition  com- 
menced. I  proceeded  in  a  steamboat  to  Chouteau's  Landing,  about 
400  miles  by  water  from  St.  Louis,  and  near  the  mouth  of  the  Kan- 
sas river,  whence  we  proceeded  twelve  miles  to  Mr.  Cyprian  Chou- 
teau's trading  house,  where  we  completed  our  final  arrangements 
for  the  expedition. 

Bad  weather,  which  interfered  with  astronomical  observations, 
delayed  us  several  days  in  the  early  part  of  June  at  this  post,  which  is 
on  the  right  bank  of  the  Kansas  river,  about  ten  miles  above  the 
mouth,  and  six  beyond  the  western  boundary  of  Missouri.  The  sky 
cleared  off  at  length,  and  we  were  enabled  to  determine  our  position, 
in  longitude  94°  39^  16",  and  latitude  39°  5'  57".  The  elevation  above 
the  sea  is  about  700  feet.  Our  camp,  in  the  meantime,  presented  an 


animated  and  busding  scene.  All  were  busily  occupied  in  completing 
the  necessary  arrangements  for  our  campaign  in  the  wilderness,  and 
profiting  by  this  short  delay  on  the  verge  of  civilization,  to  provide 
ourselves  with  all  the  little  essentials  to  comfort  in  the  nomadic  life 
we  were  to  lead  for  the  ensuing  summer  months.  Gradually,  how- 
ever, everything,  the  materiel  of  the  camp,  men,  horses,  and  even 
mules,  settled  into  its  place,  and  by  the  10th  we  were  ready  to  depart; 
but,  before  we  mount  our  horses,  I  will  give  a  short  description  of 
the  party  with  which  I  performed  this  service. 

I  had  collected  in  the  neighborhood  of  St.  Louis  twenty-one  men, 
principally  Creole  and  Canadian  voyageurs,  who  had  become  famil- 
iar with  prairie  life  in  the  service  of  the  fur  companies  in  the  Indian 
country.  Mr.  Charles  Preuss,  a  native  of  Germany,  was  my  assistant 
in  the  topographical  part  of  the  survey.  L.  Maxwell,  of  Kaskaskia, 
had  been  engaged  as  hunter,  and  Christopher  Carson,  more  famil- 
iarly known,  for  his  exploits  in  the  mountains,  as  Kit  Carson,  was 
our  guide.  The  persons  engaged  in  St.  Louis,  were: 

Clement  Lambert,  J.  B.  L'Esperance,  J.  B.  Lefevre,  Benjamin 
Potra,  Louis  Gouin,  J.  B.  Dumes,  Basil  Lajeunesse,  Francois  Tessier, 
Benjamin  Cadotte,  Joseph  Clement,  Daniel  Simonds,  Leonard  Benoit, 
Michel  Morly,  Baptiste  Bernier,  Honore  Ayot,  Francois  Latulippe, 
Frangois  Badeau,  Louis  Menard,  Joseph  Ruelle,  Moise  Chardonnais, 
Auguste  Janisse,  Raphael  Proue. 

In  addition  to  these,  Henry  Brant,  son  of  Col.  J.  B.  Brant,  of  St. 
Louis,  a  young  man  of  nineteen  years  of  age,  and  Randolph,  a  lively 
boy  of  twelve,  son  of  the  Hon.  Thomas  H.  Benton,  accompanied  me, 
for  the  development  of  mind  and  body  which  such  an  expedition 
would  give.^  We  were  all  well  armed  and  mounted,  with  the  excep- 
tion of  eight  men,  who  conducted  as  many  carts,  in  which  were 
packed  our  stores,  with  the  baggage  and  instruments,  and  which 
were  each  drawn  by  two  mules.  A  few  loose  horses,  and  four  oxen, 
which  had  been  added  to  our  stock  of  provisions,  completed  the 

1.  All  the  men  on  the  expedition  have  been  mentioned  earlier,  and  some 
biographical  information — usually  scant — has  been  presented.  In  the  present 
listing,  JCF  does  not  mention  Registe  Larente,  who  went  only  as  far  as  Fort 
John  near  the  mouth  of  the  Laramie;  Osea  Harmiyo  [Jose  Armijo],  hired  at 
Fort  St.  Vrain  on  9  July;  or  a  man  named  Descoteaux  who  is  not  mentioned 
here  or  in  the  vouchers  but  is  named  later  in  the  report.  Latulippe  did  not 
start  with  the  expedition,  but  was  encountered  with  some  comrades  on  29 
June,  laden  with  robes,  and  was  hired  on  the  spot.  He  had  been  with  Nicollet 
and  JCF  on  the  1839  expedition. 


train.  We  sat  out  on  the  morning  of  the  10th,  which  happened  to  be 
Friday,  a  circumstance  which  our  men  did  not  fail  to  remember  and 
recall  during  the  hardships  and  vexations  of  the  ensuing  journey. 
Mr.  Cyprian  Chouteau,  to  whose  kindness  during  our  stay  at  his 
house  we  were  much  indebted,  accompanied  us  several  miles  on  our 
way,  until  we  met  an  Indian,  whom  he  had  engaged  to  conduct  us 
on  the  first  thirty  or  forty  miles,  where  he  was  to  consign  us  to  the 
ocean  of  prairie,  which,  we  were  told,  stretched  without  interrup- 
tion almost  to  the  base  of  the  Rocky  Mountains. 

From  the  belt  of  wood  which  borders  the  Kanzas,  in  which  we 
had  passed  several  good-looking  Indian  farms,  we  suddenly  emerged 
on  the  prairies,  which  received  us  at  the  outset  with  some  of  their 
striking  characteristics;  for  here  and  there  rode  an  Indian,  and  but 
a  few  miles  distant,  heavy  clouds  of  smoke  were  rolling  before  the 
fire.  In  about  ten  miles  we  reached  the  Santa  Fe  road,  along  which 
we  continued  for  a  short  time,  and  encamped  early  on  a  small 
stream,  having  travelled  about  eleven  miles.'  During  our  journey. 

2.  JCF  is  reconnoitering,  not  trailblazing,  and  there  is  little  need  to  docu- 
ment every  mile  of  his  progress  along  an  already  established  trail.  When 
he  reaches  the  South  Pass  area  and  strikes  out  to  the  north  on  his  own,  we 
shall  feel  justified  in  following  him  more  closely.  A  word  is  required  about 
our  approach  to  the  identification  of  topographical  features,  campsites,  and 
other  matters  of  geographical  interest.  With  an  expedition  as  early  as,  say, 
the  Lewis  and  Clark  expedition  of  1804-6,  where  every  bend  of  the  river 
brought  the  men  into  view  of  hitherto  unknown  and  unnamed  features  of  the 
land,  the  places  where  they  camped  and  the  names  they  devised  are  of  great 
historical  importance.  But  JCF,  half  a  century  later,  is  no  pathfinder — never 
personally  claimed  to  be — and  his  eyes  seldom  fall  upon  a  mountain  range  or 
a  lake  not  known  by  an  earlier  traveler.  This  is  particularly  true  when  he  is 
on  the  Oregon  Trail. 

While  we  do  not  feel  compelled  to  annotate  every  river,  lake,  or  other 
feature  described  by  JCF,  we  do  it  frequently  and  perhaps  not  always  con- 
sistently. We  do  it  to  keep  track  of  the  expedition  on  the  map,  to  identify 
landmarks  which  have  special  interest,  and  to  provide  modern  nomenclature 
for  certain  place-names  which  have  changed  through  the  years.  We  are  more 
attentive  to  this  responsibility  when  JCF  is  not  following  well-worn  trails.  For 
detailed  information  on  the  early  trails,  see  George  R.  Stewart,  The  California 
Trail  (New  York,  1962),  Jay  Monaghan,  The  Overland  Trail  (Indianapolis, 
1947),  Irene  D.  Paden,  The  Wa\e  of  the  Prairie  Schooner  (New  York,  1943), 
and  the  "Introductions"  by  Dale  L.  Morgan  to  The  Overland  Diary  of 
James  A.  Pritchard  from  Kentucky  to  Calfornia  in  1849  (Denver,  Colo., 
1959)  and  by  David  Potter  to  Trail  to  California  (New  Haven,  Conn.,  1945). 
A  recent  and  authoritative  work,  but  following  the  trail  along  the  Platte  and 
North  Platte  only  as  far  as  Fort  Laramie,  is  Merrill  J.  .Mattes,  The  Great 
Platte  River  Road  (Lincoln,  Nebr.,  1969). 


it  was  the  customary  practice  to  encamp  an  hour  or  two  before  sun- 
set, when  the  carts  were  disposed  so  as  to  form  a  sort  of  barricade 
around  a  circle  some  eighty  yards  in  diameter.  The  tents  were 
pitched,  and  the  horses  hobbled  and  turned  loose  to  graze;  and  but 
a  few  minutes  elapsed  before  the  cooks  of  the  messes,  of  which  there 
were  four,  were  busily  engaged  in  preparing  the  evening  meal.  At 
night  fall,  the  horses,  mules,  and  oxen,  were  driven  in,  and  picketted 
— that  is,  secured  by  a  halter,  of  which  one  end  was  tied  to  a  small 
steel-shod  picket,  and  driven  into  the  ground;  the  halter  being 
twenty  or  thirty  feet  long,  which  enabled  them  to  obtain  a  little 
food  during  the  night.  When  we  had  reached  a  part  of  the  country 
where  such  a  precaution  became  necessary,  the  carts  being  regularly 
arranged  for  defending  the  camp,  guard  was  mounted  at  eight 
o'clock,  consisting  of  three  men,  who  were  relieved  every  two  hours; 
the  morning  watch  being  horse  guard  for  the  day.  At  daybreak,  the 
camp  was  roused,  the  animals  turned  loose  to  graze,  and  breakfast 
generally  over  between  six  and  seven  o'clock,  when  we  resumed  our 
march,  making  regularly  a  halt  at  noon  for  one  or  two  hours.  Such 
was  usually  the  order  of  the  day,  except  when  accident  of  country 
forced  a  variation,  which,  however,  happened  but  rarely.  We  travelled 
the  next  day  along  the  Santa  Fe  road,  which  we  left  in  the  after- 
noon, and  encamped  late  in  the  evening  on  a  small  creek,  called  by 
the  Indians  Mishmagwi.  Just  as  we  arrived  at  camp,  one  of  the 
horses  set  off  at  full  speed  on  his  return,  and  was  followed  by  others. 
Several  men  were  sent  in  pursuit,  and  returned  with  the  fugitives 
about  midnight,  with  the  exception  of  one  man,  who  did  not  make 
his  appearance  until  morning.  He  had  lost  his  way  in  the  darkness 
of  the  night,  and  slept  on  the  prairie.  Shortly  after  midnight  it  be- 
gan to  rain  heavily,  and  as  our  tents  were  of  light  and  thin  cloth, 
they  offered  but  little  obstruction  to  rain;  we  were  all  well  soaked, 
and  glad  when  morning  came.  We  had  a  rainy  march  on  the  12th, 
but  the  weather  grew  fine  as  the  day  advanced.  We  encamped  in  a 
remarkably  beautiful  situation  on  the  Kanzas  BluiTs,  which  com- 
manded a  fine  view  of  the  river  valley,  here  from  three  to  four  miles 
wide.  The  central  portion  was  occupied  by  a  broad  belt  of  heavy 
timber,  and  nearer  the  hills  the  prairies  were  of  the  richest  verdure. 
One  of  the  oxen  was  killed  here  for  food. 
We  reached  the  ford  of  the  Kanzas^  late  in  the  afternoon  of  the 

3.  One   of   the   well-known    fording    places    on    the    Kansas    River,    in    the 
vicinity  of  present  Topeka.  JCF's  route  thus  far  has  been  the  traditional  one, 


14th,  where  the  river  was  two  hundred  and  thirty  yards  wide,  and 
commenced  immediately  preparations  for  crossing.  I  had  expected 
to  find  the  river  fordable,  but  it  had  been  swollen  by  the  late  rains, 
and  was  sweeping  by  with  an  angry  current,  yellow  and  turbid  as 
the  Missouri.  Up  to  this  point,  the  road  we  had  travelled  was  a  re- 
markably fine  one,  well  beaten,  and  level,  the  usual  road  of  a  prairie 
country.  By  our  route  the  ford  was  one  hundred  miles  from  the 
mouth  of  the  Kanzas  river.  Several  mounted  men  led  the  way  into 
the  stream  to  swim  across.  The  animals  were  driven  in  after  them, 
and  in  a  few  minutes  all  had  reached  the  opposite  bank  in  safety, 
with  the  exception  of  the  oxen,  which  swam  some  distance  down 
the  river,  and,  returning  to  the  right  bank  were  not  got  over  until 
the  next  morning.  In  the  meantime,  the  carts  had  been  unloaded 
and  dismantled,  and  an  India-rubber  boat,  which  I  had  brought 
with  me  for  the  survey  of  the  Platte  river,  placed  in  the  water.  The 
boat  was  twenty  feet  long,  and  five  broad,  and  on  it  was  placed  the 
body  and  wheels  of  a  cart,  with  the  load  belonging  to  it,  and  three 
men  with  paddles. 

The  velocity  of  the  current,  and  the  inconvenient  freight,  ren- 
dering it  difficult  to  be  managed,  Basil  Lajeunesse,  one  of  our  best 
swimmers,  took  in  his  teeth  a  line  attached  to  the  boat,  and  swam 
ahead  in  order  to  reach  a  footing  as  soon  as  possible,  and  assist  in 
drawing  her  over.  In  this  manner,  six  passages  had  been  successfully 
made,  and  as  many  carts  with  their  contents,  and  a  greater  portion 
of  the  party  deposited  on  the  left  bank ;  but  night  was  drawing  near, 
and  in  our  anxiety  to  have  all  over  before  darkness  closed  in,  I  put 
upon  the  boat  the  remaining  two  carts,  with  their  accompanying 
load.  The  man  at  the  helm  was  timid  in  water,  and  in  his  alarm 

starting  out  along  the  Santa  Fe  Trail  to  avoid  some  bad  crossings,  then  veer- 
ing northward  in  the  direction  of  the  Platte.  The  creek  he  calls  "Mishmagwi" 
may  be  Bull  Creek  or  Captain  Creek.  After  his  crossing  of  the  Kansas  he  will 
be  traveling  north  and  west,  across  northern  tributaries  of  the  Little  Blue, 
until  he  reaches  (Jrand  Island  at  the  Platte. 

The  hunter  who  visited  camp  on  the  evening  of  17  June  brought  news  of 
one  of  the  very  earliest  wagon  trains  to  journey  to  Oregon.  Dr.  Elijah  White 
(d.  1879),  of  New  York,  had  gone  to  the  Willamette  Valley  by  sea  in  1837, 
on  behalf  of  the  Methodist  Episcopal  Church.  Returning  to  Washington, 
D.C.,  he  was  appointed  Indian  agent  with  the  understanding  that  he  was  to 
return  to  Oregon.  At  the  time  of  his  departure  he  was  anticipating  the  passage 
of  a  bill  authorizing  the  president  to  appoint  agents  for  the  territory  west  of 
Iowa.  (The  bill  did  not  pass  and  White's  appointment  failed,  but  this  was  not 
known  in  Oregon  until  the  fall  of  1843.) 


capsized  the  boat.  Carts,  barrels,  boxes,  and  bales,  were  in  a  moment 
floating  down  the  current,  but  all  the  men  who  were  on  the  shore 
jumped  into  the  water,  without  stopping  to  think  if  they  could 
swim,  and  almost  every  thing,  even  heavy  articles,  such  as  guns  and 
lead,  were  recovered. 

Two  of  the  men  who  could  not  swim  came  nigh  being  drowned, 
and  all  the  sugar  belonging  to  one  of  the  messes  wasted  its  sweets  on 
the  muddy  waters;  but  our  heaviest  loss  was  a  bag  of  cofTee,  which 
contained  nearly  all  our  provision.  It  was  a  loss  which  none  but  a 
traveller  in  a  strange  and  inhospitable  country  can  appreciate;  and 
often  afterward,  when  excessive  toil  and  long  marching  had  over- 
come us  with  fatigue  and  weariness,  we  remembered  and  mourned 
over  our  loss  in  the  Kanzas.  Carson  and  Maxwell  had  been  much 
in  the  water  yesterday,  and  both  in  consequence  were  taken  ill.  The 
former  continuing  so,  I  remained  in  camp.  A  number  of  Kanzas 
Indians  visited  us  to-day.  Going  up  to  one  of  the  groups  who  were 
scattered  among  the  trees,  I  found  one  sitting  on  the  ground  among 
some  of  the  men,  gravely  and  fluently  speaking  French,  with  as 
much  facility  and  as  little  embarrassment  as  any  of  my  own  party, 
who  were  nearly  all  of  French  origin. 

On  all  sides  was  heard  the  strange  language  of  his  own  people, 
wild,  and  harmonizing  well  with  their  appearance.  I  listened  to  him 
for  some  time  with  feelings  of  strange  curiosity  and  interest.  He  was 
now  apparently  thirty-five  years  of  age;  and,  on  inquiry,  I  learned 
that  he  had  been  at  St.  Louis  when  a  boy,  and  there  had  learned  the 
French  language.  From  one  of  the  Indian  women  I  obtained  a  fine 
cow  and  calf  in  exchange  for  a  yoke  of  oxen.  Several  of  them 
brought  us  vegetables,  pumpkins,  onions,  beans,  and  lettuce.  One  of 
them  brought  butter,  and  from  a  half-breed  near  the  river  I  had  the 
good  fortune  to  obtain  some  twenty  or  thirty  pounds  of  coffee.  The 
dense  timber  in  which  we  had  encamped  interfered  with  astronomi- 
cal observations,  and  our  wet  and  damaged  stores  required  exposure 
to  the  sun.  Accordingly,  the  tents  were  struck  early  the  next  morn- 
ing, and,  leaving  camp  at  six  o'clock,  we  moved  about  seven  miles 
up  the  river  to  a  handsome,  open  prairie  some  twenty  feet  above  the 
water,  where  the  fine  grass  afforded  a  luxurious  repast  to  our  horses. 

During  the  day  we  occupied  ourselves  in  making  astronomical 
observations,  in  order  to  lay  down  the  country  to  this  place,  it  being 
our  custom  to  keep  up  our  map  regularly  in  the  field,  which  we 
found  attended  with  many  advantages.  The  men  were  kept  busy  in 


drying  the  provisions,  painting  the  cart  covers,  and  otherwise  com- 
pleting our  equipage,  until  the  afternoon,  v^hen  powder  was  distrib- 
uted to  them,  and  they  spent  some  hours  in  firing  at  a  mark.  We 
were  now  fairly  in  the  Indian  country,  and  it  began  to  be  time  to 
prepare  for  the  chances  of  the  wilderness. 

Friday,  ]une  17. — The  weather  yesterday  had  not  permitted  us  to 
make  the  observations  I  was  desirous  to  obtain  here,  and  I  therefore 
did  not  move  to-day.  The  people  continued  their  target  firing.  In  the 
steep  bank  of  the  river  here  were  nests  of  innumerable  swallows, 
into  one  of  which  a  large  prairie  snake  had  got  about  half  his  body, 
and  was  occupied  in  eating  the  young  birds.  The  old  ones  were  fly- 
ing about  in  great  distress,  darting  at  him,  and  vainly  endeavoring 
to  drive  him  ofT.  A  shot  wounded  him,  and,  being  killed,  he  was  cut 
open,  and  eighteen  young  swallows  were  found  in  his  body.  A  sud- 
den storm  that  burst  upon  us  in  the  afternoon  cleared  away  in  a 
brilliant  sunset,  followed  by  a  clear  night,  which  enabled  us  to  deter- 
mine our  position  in  longitude  96°  10'  06",  and  in  latitude  39°  06'  40". 

A  party  of  emigrants  to  the  Columbia  river,  under  the  charge  of 
Dr.  White,  an  agent  of  the  Government  in  Oregon  Territory,  were 
about  three  weeks  in  advance  of  us.  They  consisted  of  men,  women, 
and  children.  There  were  sixty-four  men  and  sixteen  or  seventeen 
families.  They  had  a  considerable  number  of  cattle,  and  were  trans- 
porting their  household  furniture  in  large  heavy  wagons.  I  under- 
stood that  there  had  been  much  sickness  among  them,  and  that  they 
had  lost  several  children.  One  of  the  party  who  had  lost  his  child, 
and  whose  wife  was  very  ill,  had  left  them  about  one  hundred  miles 
hence  on  the  prairies;  and  as  a  hunter  who  had  accompanied  them 
visited  our  camp  this  evening,  we  availed  ourselves  of  his  return  to 
the  States  to  write  to  our  friends. 

The  morning  of  the  18th  was  very  unpleasant.  A  fine  rain  was  fall- 
ing, with  cold  wind  from  the  north,  and  mists  made  the  river  hills 
look  dark  and  gloomy.  We  left  our  camp  at  seven,  journeying  along 
the  foot  of  the  hills  which  border  the  Kansas  valley,  generally  about 
three  miles  wide,  and  extremely  rich.  We  halted  for  dinner,  after  a 
march  of  about  thirteen  miles,  on  the  banks  of  one  of  the  many  little 
tributaries  to  the  Kansas,  which  look  like  trenches  in  the  prairie, 
and  are  usually  well  timbered.  After  crossing  this  stream,  I  rode  off 
some  miles  to  the  left,  attracted  by  the  appearance  of  a  cluster  of  huts 
near  the  mouth  of  the  [Little]  Vermillion.  It  was  a  large  but  de- 
serted Kansas  village,  scattered  in  an  open  wood  along  the  margin 


of  the  stream,  on  a  spot  chosen  with  the  customary  Indian  fondness 
for  beauty  and  scenery.  The  Pawnees  had  attacked  it  in  the  early 
spring.  Some  of  the  houses  were  burnt,  and  others  blackened  with 
smoke,  and  weeds  were  already  getting  possession  of  the  cleared 
places.  Riding  up  the  [Little]  Vermillion  river,  I  reached  the  ford 
in  time  to  meet  the  carts,  and  crossing,  encamped  on  its  western 
side.  The  weather  continued  cool,  the  thermometer  being  this  evening 
as  low  as  49°,  but  the  night  was  sufficiently  clear  for  astronomical 
observations,  which  placed  us  in  longitude  96°  36'  40",  and  latitude 
39°  15'  19".^  At  sunset,  the  barometer  was  at  28,845,  thermometer  64°. 

We  breakfasted  the  next  morning  at  half  past  five,  and  left  our 
encampment  early.  The  morning  was  cool,  the  thermometer  being  at 
45°.  Quitting  the  river  bottom,  the  road  ran  along  the  uplands,  over 
a  rolling  country,  generally  in  view  of  the  Kansas,  from  eight  to 
twelve  miles  distant.  Many  large  boulders  of  a  very  compact  sand- 
stone of  various  shades  of  red,  some  of  them  four  or  five  tons  in 
weight,  were  scattered  along  the  hills;  and  many  beautiful  plants 
in  flower,  among  which  the  amorpha  canescens  was  a  characteristic, 
enlivened  the  green  of  the  prairie.  At  the  heads  of  the  ravines  I 
remarked  occasionally  thickets  of  salix  longifolia,  the  most  com- 
mon willow  of  the  country.  We  travelled  nineteen  miles,  and  pitched 
our  tents  at  evening  on  the  head  waters  of  a  small  creek,  now 
nearly  dry,  but  having  in  its  bed  several  fine  springs.  The  barom- 
eter indicated  a  considerable  rise  in  the  country — here  about  fourteen 
hundred  feet  above  the  sea — and  the  increased  elevation  appeared 
already  to  have  some  slight  influence  upon  the  vegetation.  The 
night  was  cold,  with  a  heavy  dew,  the  thermometer  at  ten  stand- 
ing at  46°,  barometer  28,483.  Our  position  was  in  longitude  96° 
48'  05",  and  latitude  39°  30'  40". 

The  morning  of  the  20th  was  fine,  with  a  southerly  breeze  and  a 

4.  In  the  manuscript  draft,  the  longitude  is  the  same  as  that  given  here, 
but  in  the  1845  edition  it  is  changed  to  96°  04'  07".  Although  JCF's  latitudes 
remain  fairly  constant  in  the  various  versions,  the  longitudes — more  difficult 
to  fix — were  frequently  changed  by  later  findings  or  calculations.  In  a  note 
on  his  observations  written  after  his  1843-44  expedition,  and  placed  in  the 
1845  edition,  he  explains  that  his  earlier  longitudes  were  thrown  too  far  to  the 
westward  by  the  use  of  an  occultation  "which  experience  has  recently  shown 
to  be  deserving  of  little  comparative  confidence."  He  then  adjusted  all  these 
1842  longitudes  by  referring  them  chronometrically  to  those  established  in 
1843-44.  His  corrected  longitudes  usually  lie  to  the  west  of  modern  readings. 
The  readings  used  here  for  the  1842  expedition  will  be  those  first  published 
by  JCFindie  1843  report. 


bright  sky,  and  at  7  o'clock  we  were  on  the  march.  The  country 
to-day  was  rather  more  broken,  rising  still,  and  covered  every  where 
with  fragments  of  siliceous  limestone,  particularly  on  the  summits, 
where  they  were  small,  and  thickly  strewed  as  pebbles  on  the  shore 
of  the  sea.  In  these  exposed  situations  grew  but  few  plants;  though, 
whenever  the  soil  was  good  and  protected  from  the  winds,  in  the 
creek  bottoms  and  ravines,  and  on  the  slopes,  they  flourished  abun- 
dantly; among  them,  the  amorpha'  still  retaining  its  characteristic 
place.  We  crossed,  at  10,  the  Big  Vermillion  [Black  Vermillion], 
which  has  a  rich  bottom  of  about  one  mile  in  breadth,  one  third  of 
which  is  occupied  by  timber.  Making  our  usual  halt  at  noon,  after 
a  day's  march  of  twenty-four  miles,  we  reached  the  Big  Blue,  and 
encamped  on  the  uplands  of  the  western  side,  near  a  small  creek, 
where  was  a  fine  large  spring  of  very  cold  water.  This  is  a  clear  and 
handsome  stream,  about  one  hundred  and  twenty  feet  wide,  run- 
ning, with  a  rapid  current,  through  a  well-timbered  valley.  To-day 
antelope  were  seen  running  over  the  hills,  and  at  evening  Carson 
brought  us  a  fine  deer.  Long,  of  the  camp  97°  06'  58",  lat.  39°  45'  08". 
Thermometer  at  sunset  75°.  A  pleasant  southerly  breeze  and  fine 
morning  had  given  place  to  a  gale,  with  indications  of  bad  weather, 
when,  after  a  march  of  ten  miles,  we  halted  to  noon  on  a  small 
creek,  where  the  water  stood  in  deep  pools.  In  the  bank  of  the 
creek,  limestone  made  its  appearance  in  a  stratum  about  one  foot 
thick.  In  the  afternoon,  the  people  seemed  to  suffer  for  want  of 
water.  The  road  led  along  a  high  dry  ridge;  dark  lines  of  timber 
indicated  the  heads  of  streams  in  the  plains  below;  but  there  was  no 
water  near,  and  the  day  was  very  oppressive,  with  a  hot  wind,  and 
the  thermometer  at  90°.  Along  our  route,  the  amorpha  has  been  in 
very  abundant  but  variable  bloom:  in  some  places,  bending  be- 
neath the  weight  of  purple  clusters;  in  others,  without  a  flower. 
It  seems  to  love  best  the  sunny  slopes,  with  a  dark  soil  and  southern 
exposure.  Every  where  the  rose  is  met  with,  and  reminds  us  of 
cultivated  gardens  and  civilization.  It  is  scattered  over  the  prairies 
in  small  bouquets,  and,  when  glittering  in  the  dews  and  waving  in 
the  pleasant  breeze  of  the  early  morning,  is  the  most  beautiful  of  the 
prairie  flowers.  The  artemisia,  absinthe,  or  prairie  sage,  as  it  is 
variously  called,  is  increasing  in  size,  and  glitters  like  silver,  as  the 

5.  The  manuscript  draft  reads,  "among  them  the  Coreopsis  palmata  began  to 
cluster  in  larger  yellow  patches  but  the  Amorpha  still  retained  its  character- 
istic place." 


southern  breeze  turns  up  its  leaves  to  the  sun.  All  these  plants  have 
their  insect  inhabitants,  variously  colored;  taking  generally  the  hue 
of  the  flower  on  which  they  live.  The  artemisia  has  its  small  fly  ac- 
companying it  through  every  change  of  elevation  and  latitude;  and 
wherever  I  have  seen  the  asclepias  tuherosa,  I  have  always  remarked, 
too,  on  the  flower,  a  large  butterfly,  so  nearly  resembling  it  in  color, 
as  to  be  distinguishable  at  a  little  distance  only  by  the  motion  of  its 
wings.*'  Travelling  on  the  fresh  traces  of  the  Oregon  emigrants  re- 
lieves a  little  the  loneliness  of  the  road ;  and  to-night,  after  a  march 
of  twenty-two  miles,  we  halted  on  a  small  creek,  which  had  been 
one  of  their  encampments.  As  we  advance  westward,  the  soil  appears 
to  be  getting  more  sandy,  and  the  surface  rock,  an  erratic  deposite 
of  sand  and  gravel,  rests  here  on  a  bed  of  coarse  yellow  and  gray 
and  very  friable  sandstone.  Evening  closed  over  with  rain  and  its 
usual  attendant,  hordes  of  mosquitoes,  with  which  we  were  annoyed 
for  the  first  time. 

]une  11. — We  enjoyed  at  breakfast  this  morning  a  luxury  very 
unusual  in  this  country,  in  a  cup  of  excellent  coffee,  with  cream 
from  our  cow.  Being  milked  at  night,  cream  was  thus  had  in  the 
morning.  Our  mid-day  halt  was  at  Wyeth's  creek,  in  the  bed  of 
which,  were  numerous  boulders  of  dark  ferruginous  sandstone, 
mingled  with  others  of  the  red  sandstone  already  mentioned.  Here 
a  pack  of  cards,  lying  loose  on  the  grass,  marked  an  encampment  of 
our  Oregon  emigrants;  and  it  was  at  the  close  of  the  day  when  we 
made  our  bivouac  in  the  midst  of  some  well-timbered  ravines  near 
the  Little  Blue,  twenty-four  miles  from  our  camp  of  the  preceding 
night.  Crossing  the  next  morning  a  number  of  handsome  creeks, 
with  clear  water  and  sandy  beds,  we  reached,  at  10,  a  very  beautiful 
wooded  stream,  about  thirty-five  feet  wide,  called  Sandy  creek,  and, 
sometimes,  as  the  Otoes  frequently  winter  there,  the  Otoe  fork.  The 
country  has  become  very  sandy,  and  the  plants  less  varied  and  abun- 
dant, with  the  exception  of  the  amorpha,  which  rivals  the  grass  in 
quantity,  though  not  so  forward  as  it  has  been  found  to  the  eastward. 

6.  In  the  manuscript  draft,  a  blank  is  left  for  A.  tuherosa,  and  "butterfly" 
reads  "red  butterfly."  Inserted  after  the  next  sentence:  "This  party  consists  of 
above  100  persons,  with  cattle,  horses,  carts,  &c."  Throughout  the  remainder 
of  the  manuscript  version,  many  of  the  scientific  names  of  plants  are  missing, 
JCF  having  left  blanks  to  be  filled  in  after  Torrey  had  made  the  necessary 
determinations.  All  of  the  plants  collected  by  JCF  are  catalogued,  beginning  on 
p.  290,  and  we  make  few  comments  on  them  in  the  notes. 


At  the  Big  Trees,  where  we  had  intended  to  noon,  no  water  was 
to  be  found.  The  bed  of  the  Httle  creek  was  perfectly  dry,  and  on  the 
adjacent  sandy  bottom,  cacti  [prickly  pear],  for  the  first  time,  made 
their  appearance.  We  made  here  a  short  delay  in  search  of  water; 
and,  after  a  hard  day's  march  of  twenty-eight  miles,  encamped,  at 
five  o'clock,  on  the  Little  Blue,  where  our  arrival  made  a  scene  of 
the  Arabian  desert.  As  fast  as  they  arrived,  men  and  horses  rushed 
into  the  stream,  where  they  bathed  and  drank  together  in  common 
enjoyment.  We  were  now  in  the  range  of  the  Pawnees,  who  were 
accustomed  to  infest  this  part  of  the  country,  stealing  horses  from 
companies  on  their  way  to  the  mountains,  and,  when  in  sufficient 
force  openly  attacking  and  plundering  them,  and  subjecting  them 
to  various  kinds  of  insult.  For  the  first  time,  therefore,  guard  was 
mounted  to  night.  Our  route  the  next  morning  lay  up  the  valley, 
which,  bordered  by  hills  with  graceful  slopes,  looked  uncommonly 
green  and  beautiful.  The  stream  was  about  fifty  feet  wide  and  three 
or  four  deep,  fringed  by  cotton  wood  and  willow,  with  frequent 
groves  of  oak  tenanted  by  flocks  of  turkeys.  Game  here,  too,  made  its 
appearance  in  greater  plenty.  Elk  were  frequently  seen  on  the  hills, 
and  now  and  then  an  antelope  bounded  across  our  path,  or  a  deer 
broke  from  the  groves.  The  road  in  the  afternoon  was  over  the  up- 
per prairies,  several  miles  from  the  river,  and  we  encamped  at  sunset 
on  one  of  its  small  tributaries,  where  an  abundance  of  prele  {equi- 
setum)  afforded  fine  forage  to  our  tired  animals.  We  had  travelled 
thirty-one  miles.  A  heavy  bank  of  black  clouds  in  the  west  came  on 
us  in  a  storm  between  nine  and  ten,  preceded  by  a  violent  wind.  The 
rain  fell  in  such  torrents  that  it  was  difficult  to  breathe  facing  the 
wind,  the  thunder  rolled  incessantly,  and  the  whole  sky  was  trem- 
ulous with  lightning;  now  and  then  illuminated  by  a  blinding 
flash,  succeeded  by  pitchy  darkness.  Carson  had  the  watch  from  ten 
to  midnight,  and  to  him  had  been  assigned  our  young  compagnons 
de  voyage,  Messrs.  Brant  and  R.  Benton.  This  was  their  first  night  on 
guard,  and  such  an  introduction  did  not  augur  very  auspiciously  of 
the  pleasures  of  the  expedition.  Many  things  conspired  to  render 
their  situation  uncomfortable;  stories  of  desperate  and  bloody  Indian 
fights  were  rife  in  the  camp;  our  position  was  badly  chosen,  sur- 
rounded on  all  sides  by  timbered  hollows,  and  occupying  an  area  of 
several  hundred  feet,  so  that  necessarily  the  guards  were  far  apart; 
and  now  and  then  I  could  hear  Randolph,  as  if  relieved  by  the  sound 
of  a  voice  in  the  darkness,  calling  out  to  the  sergeant  of  the  guard,  to 



direct  his  attention  to  some  imaginary  alarm;  but  they  stood  it  out, 
and  took  their  turn  regularly  afterward. 

The  next  morning  we  had  a  specimen  of  the  false  alarms  to  which 
all  parties  in  these  wild  regions  are  subject.  Proceeding  up  the  valley, 
objects  were  seen  on  the  opposite  hills,  which  disappeared  before  a 
glass  could  be  brought  to  bear  upon  them.  A  man^  who  was  a  short 
distance  in  the  rear  came  spurring  up  in  great  haste,  shouting  In- 
dians! Indians!  He  had  been  near  enough  to  see  and  count  them, 
according  to  his  report,  and  had  made  out  twenty-seven.  I  im- 
mediately halted,  arms  were  examined  and  put  in  order;  the  usual 
preparations  made;  and  Kit  Carson,  springing  upon  one  of  the  hunt- 
ing horses,  crossed  the  river,  and  galloped  off  into  the  opposite  prai- 
ries to  obtain  some  certain  intelligence  of  their  movements. 

Mounted  on  a  fine  horse,  without  a  saddle,  and  scouring  bare- 
headed over  the  prairies.  Kit  was  one  of  the  finest  pictures  of  a 
horseman  I  have  ever  seen.  A  short  time  enabled  him  to  discover 
that  the  Indian  war  party  of  twenty-seven  consisted  of  six  elk,  who 
had  been  gazing  curiously  at  our  caravan  as  it  passed  by,  and  were 
now  scampering  off  at  full  speed.  This  was  our  first  alarm,  and  its 
excitement  broke  agreeably  on  the  monotony  of  the  day.  At  our 
noon  halt,  the  men  were  exercised  at  a  target ;  and  in  the  evening  we 
pitched  our  tents  at  a  Pawnee  encampment  of  last  July.  They  had 
apparently  killed  buffalo  here,  as  many  bones  were  lying  about,  and 
the  frames  where  the  hides  had  been  stretched  were  yet  standing. 
The  road  of  the  day  had  kept  the  valley,  which  is  sometimes  rich 
and  well  timbered,  though  the  country  is  generally  sandy.  Mingled 
with  the  usual  plants,  a  thistle  {carduus  leucographus)  had  for  the 
last  day  or  two  made  its  appearance;  and  along  the  river  bottom, 
tradescantia  {virginica)  and  milk  plant  {asclepias  syriaca*)  in  con- 
siderable quantities.^ 

*  "This  plant  is  very  odoriferous,  and  in  Canada  charms  the  traveller,  espe- 
cially when  passing  through  woods  in  the  evening.  The  French  there  eat  the 
tender  shoots  in  the  spring,  as  we  do  asparagus.  The  natives  make  a  sugar 
of  the  flowers,  gathering  them  in  the  morning  when  they  are  covered  with 
dew,  and  collect  the  cotton  from  the  pods  to  fill  their  beds.  On  account  of  the 
silkiness  of  this  cotton,  Parkinson  calls  the  plant  Virginian  silk."^ — Loudon's 
Encyclopedia  of  Plants.  The  Sioux  Indians  of  the  Upper  Platte  eat  the  young 
pods  of  this  plant,  boiling  them  with  the  meat  of  the  buffalo. 

7.  PREuss,  13,  says  this  man  was  Henry  Brant. 

8.  At  this  point  in  the  text,  the  manuscript  draft  contains  the  following  de- 
leted paragraphs: 


Our  march  to-day  had  been  twenty-one  miles,  and  the  astronomi- 
cal observations  gave  us  a  chronometric  longitude  of  98°  54' 07",  and 
latitude  40°  26'  50".  We  w^ere  moving  forward  at  seven  in  the  morn- 
ing, and  in  about  five  miles  reached  a  fork  of  the  Blue,  where  the 
road  leaves  that  river,  and  crosses  over  to  the  Platte.  No  water  was  to 
be  found  on  the  dividing  ridge,  and  the  casks  were  filled  and  the 
animals  here  allowed  a  short  repose.  The  road  led  across  a  high  and 
level  prairie  ridge,  where  were  but  few  plants,  and  those  principally 
thistle  {carduus  leucographus),  and  a  kind  of  dwarf  artemisia.  Ante- 
lope were  seen  frequently  during  the  morning,  which  was  very 
stormy.  Squalls  of  rain,  with  thunder  and  lightning,  were  around  us 
in  every  direction;  and  while  we  were  enveloped  in  one  of  them,  a 
flash,  which  seemed  to  scorch  our  eyes  as  it  passed,  struck  in  the 
prairie  within  a  few  hundred  feet,  sending  up  a  column  of  dust. 

Crossing  on  the  way  several  Pawnee  roads  to  the  Arkansas,  we 
reached,  in  about  twenty-one  miles  from  our  halt  on  the  Blue,  what 
is  called  the  coast  of  the  Nebraska,  or  Platte  river.  This  had  seemed 
in  the  distance  a  range  of  high  and  broken  hills,  but  on  a  nearer  ap- 
proach were  found  to  be  elevations  of  forty  to  sixty  feet,  into  which 
the  wind  had  worked  the  sand.  They  were  covered  with  the  usual 
fine  grasses  of  the  country,  and  bordered  the  eastern  side  of  the 
ridge  on  a  breadth  of  about  two  miles.  Change  of  soil  and  country 
appeared  here  to  have  produced  some  change  in  the  vegetation. 
Cacti  were  numerous,  and  all  the  plants  of  the  region  appeared  to 
flourish  among  the  warm  hills.  Among  them  the  amorpha,  in  full 
bloom,  was  remarkable  for  its  large  and  luxuriant  purple  clusters. 
From  the  foot  of  the  coast,  a  distance  of  two  miles  across  the  level 

"Our  cook  was  very  dilatory  &  I  had  been  obliged  to  give  him  an  assistant. 
He  thought  rather  that  men  lived  to  eat  than  that  they  ate  to  live,  had  no  idea 
of  the  value  of  time  &  was  never  known  to  hurry  except  when  eating  an 
omelette  souffle  which  was  a  dish  he  said  that  couldn't  bear  to  wait. 

"Descouteaux,  the  man  I  had  given,  was  an  excellent  cook  &  though  but 
a  prairie  artist  one  on  whom  the  mantle  of  Ade  [?]  had  fallen  most  becom- 
ingly. They  did  not  agree  very  well  &  this  evening  a  professional  dispute 
broke  into  an  open  fight,  with  which  I  did  not  interfere  as  it  was  conducted 
with  their  natural  weapons,  frying-pans  &  gridirons.  Unwilling  to  fatigue  and 
annoy  the  men  by  restraining  their  natural  freedom  in  the  ettiquette  of  small 
observances,  I  had  determined  to  enforce  only  those  points  of  discipline  which 
really  regarded  our  preservation  in  a  remote  country  &  the  success  of  the  Ex- 
pedition &  so  long  as  in  their  disputes  they  had  no  recourse  to  arms  I  fol- 
lowed the  custom  of  the  country  &  in  no  wise  interfered  with  their  amuse- 


bottom  brought  us  to  our  encampment  on  the  shore  of  the  river, 
about  twenty  miles  below  the  head  of  Grand  island,  which  lay  ex- 
tended before  us,  covered  with  dense  and  heavy  woods.  From  the 
mouth  of  the  Kansas,  according  to  our  reckoning,  we  had  travelled 
three  hundred  and  twenty-eight  miles;  and  the  geological  formation 
of  the  country  we  had  passed  over  consisted  of  lime  and  sandstone, 
covered  by  the  same  erratic  deposite  of  sand  and  gravel  which  forms 
the  surface  rock  of  the  prairies  between  the  Missouri  and  Mississippi 
rivers;  except  in  some  occasional  limestone  boulders,  I  had  met  with 
no  fossils.  The  elevation  of  the  Platte  valley  above  the  sea  is  here 
about  two  thousand  feet.  The  astronomical  observations  of  the  night 
placed  us  in  longitude  99°  17  M'\  latitude  40°  41'  06''. 

]une  27. — The  animals  were  somewhat  fatigued  by  their  march  of 
yesterday,  and  after  a  short  journey  of  eighteen  miles  along  the  river 
bottom,  I  encamped  near  the  head  of  Grand  island,^  in  longitude, 
by  observation,  99°  37'  45",  latitude  40°  39'  32".  The  soil  here  was 
light  but  rich,  though  in  some  places  rather  sandy;  and,  with  the  ex- 
ception of  a  scattered  fringe  along  the  bank,  the  timber,  consisting 
principally  of  poplar  {populus  monilifera),  elm,  and  hackberry  {celtts 
crassifolid),  is  confined  almost  entirely  to  the  islands. 

]une  28. —  We  halted  to  noon  at  an  open  reach  of  the  river,  which 
occupies  rather  more  than  a  fourth  of  the  valley,  here  only  about 
four  miles  broad.  The  camp  had  been  disposed  with  the  usual  pre- 
caution, the  horses  grazing  at  a  little  distance,  attended  by  the  guard, 
and  we  were  all  sitting  quietly  at  our  dinner  on  the  grass,  when  sud- 
denly we  heard  the  startling  cry  "du  monde!"  In  an  instant,  every 
man's  weapon  was  in  his  hand,  the  horses  were  driven  in,  hobbled 
and  picketted,  and  horsemen  were  galloping  at  full  speed  in  the 
direction  of  the  new  comers,  screaming  and  yelling  with  the  wildest 
excitement.  "Get  ready,  my  lads!"  said  the  leader  of  the  approaching 
party  to  his  men,  when  our  wild-looking  horsemen  were  discovered 
bearing  down  upon  them;  "nous  allo?is  attraper  des  coups  de  ba- 
guette." They  proved  to  be  a  small  party  of  fourteen,  under  the 

9.  At  the  site  of  present  Grand  Island,  Nebr.  When  William  Marshall 
Anderson  camped  there  in  1834,  he  described  it  as  "the  longest  fresh  water 
river  island,  perhaps  in  America.  ...  It  commences  indeed,  God  knows 
where,  &  ends  God  knows  where"  (anderson,  204).  It  still  does,  as  the  chan- 
nelings  of  the  river  have  broken  it  into  many  segments.  Early  travelers  esti- 
mated its  length  at  anywhere  from  50  to  120  miles.  But  it  was  never  much 
more  than  a  band,  splitting  the  river  into  two  main  channels  (mattes,  194). 


charge  of  a  man  named  John  Lee,  and  with  their  baggage  and  pro- 
visions strapped  to  their  backs,  were  making  their  way  on  foot  to  the 
frontier.  A  brief  account  of  their  fortunes  will  give  some  idea  of 
navigation  in  the  Nebraska.  Sixty  days  since  they  had  left  the 
mouth  of  Laramie's  fork,  some  three  hundred  miles  above,  in  barges 
laden  with  the  furs  of  the  American  Fur  Company.  They  started 
with  the  annual  flood,  and  drawing  but  nine  inches  water,  hoped  to 
make  a  speedy  and  prosperous  voyage  to  St,  Louis;  but,  after  a  lapse 
of  forty  days,  found  themselves  only  one  hundred  and  thirty  miles 
from  their  point  of  departure.  They  came  down  rapidly  as  far  as 
Scott's  blufTs,  where  their  difficulties  began.  Sometimes  they  came 
upon  places  where  the  water  was  spread  over  a  great  extent,  and 
here  they  toiled  from  morning  until  night,  endeavoring  to  drag  their 
boat  through  the  sands,  making  only  two  or  three  miles  in  as  many 
days.  Sometimes  they  would  enter  an  arm  of  the  river,  where  there 
appeared  a  fine  channel,  and  after  descending  prosperously  for  eight 
or  ten  miles,  would  come  suddenly  upon  dry  sands,  and  be  com- 
pelled to  return,  dragging  their  boat  for  days  against  the  rapid  cur- 
rent; and  at  others,  they  came  upon  places  where  the  water  lay  in 
holes,  and  getting  out  to  float  ofT  their  boat,  would  fall  into  water  up 
to  their  necks,  and  the  next  moment  tumble  over  against  a  sandbar. 
Discouraged  at  length,  and  finding  the  Platte  growing  every  day 
more  shallow,  they  discharged  the  principal  part  of  their  cargoes  one 
hundred  and  thirty  miles  l3elow  Fort  Laramie,  which  they  secured 
as  well  as  possible,  and  leaving  a  few  men  to  guard  them,  attempted 
to  continue  their  voyage,  laden  with  some  light  furs  and  their 
personal  baggage.  After  fifteen  or  twenty  days  more  struggling  in 
the  sands,  during  which  they  made  but  one  hundred  and  forty  miles, 
they  sunk  their  barges,  made  a  cache  of  their  remaining  furs  and 
property,  in  trees  on  the  bank,  and,  packing  on  his  back  what  each 
man  could  carry,  had  commenced,  the  day  before  we  encountered 
them,  their  journey  on  foot  to  St.  Louis. 

We  laughed  then  at  their  forlorn  and  vagabond  appearance,  and 
in  our  turn  a  month  or  two  afterwards  furnished  the  same  occasion 
for  merriment  to  others.^*'  Even  their  stock  of  tobacco,  that  sine  qua 

10.  Deleted  from  the  manuscript  draft  at  this  point:  "In  their  parti- 
coloured &  motley  dresses  one  was  strongly  reminded  of  Hogarth's  picture 
of  the  Beggars,  rendered  somewhat  dingy  by  time."  Among  the  forlorn  and 
vagabond  of  John  Lee's  party  was  Rufus  B.  Sage  (1817-93),  a  young  Con- 
necticut-born newspaperman.  He  had  gone   west  to  trap  and  trade  and   to 


non  of  a  voyageur,  without  which  the  night  fire  is  gloomy,  was  en- 
tirely exhausted.  However,  we  shortened  their  homeward  journey  by 
a  small  supply  from  our  own  provision.  They  gave  us  the  welcome 
intelligence  that  the  Buffalo  were  abundant  some  two  days'  march 
in  advance,  and  made  us  a  present  of  some  choice  pieces,  which  were 
a  very  acceptable  change  from  our  salt  pork.  In  the  interchange  of 
news,  and  the  renewal  of  old  acquaintanceships,  we  found  where- 
withal to  fill  a  busy  hour,  then  we  mounted  our  horses,  and  they 
shouldered  their  packs,  and  we  shook  hands  and  parted.  Among 
them,  I  had  found  an  old  companion  on  the  northern  prairie,  a 
hardened  and  hardly  served  veteran  of  the  mountains,  who  had  been 
as  much  hacked  and  scarred  as  an  old  moustache  of  Napoleon's  "old 
guard."  He  flourished  in  the  sobriquet  of  La  Tulipe,^^  and  his  real 
name  I  never  knew.  Finding  that  he  was  going  to  the  States  only 
because  his  company  was  bound  in  that  direction,  and  that  he  was 
rather  more  willing  to  return  with  me,  I  took  him  again  into  my 
service.  We  travelled  this  day  but  seventeen  miles. 

At  our  evening  camp,  about  sunset,  three  figures  were  discovered 
approaching,  which  our  glasses  made  out  to  be  Indians.  They  proved 
to  be  Cheyennes,  two  men  and  a  boy  of  thirteen.  About  a  month 
since,  they  had  left  their  people  on  the  south  fork  of  the  river,  some 
three  hundred  miles  to  the  westward,  and  a  party  of  only  four  in 
number  had  been  to  the  Pawnee  villages  on  a  horse  stealing  excur- 
sion, from  which  they  were  returning  unsuccessful.  They  were  miser- 
ably mounted  on  wild  horses  from  the  Arkansas  plains,  and  had  no 
other  weapons  than  bows  and  long  spears;  and  had  they  been  dis- 
covered by  the  Pawnees,  could  not,  by  any  possibility,  have  escaped. 
They  were  mortified  by  their  ill  success,  and  said  the  Pawnees  were 
cowards  who  shut  up  their  horses  in  their  lodges  at  night.  I  invited 

gather  material  for  an  intended  book  which  he  pubhshed  in  1846  under  the 
title  Scenes  in  the  Roc\y  Mountains.  .  .  .  The  book  went  through  many 
printings.  The  first  edition  included  3,000  copies  paperbound  and  500  cloth- 
bound.  Some  copies  of  the  clothbound  volume  included  a  map  which  was  ap- 
parently adapted  from  Fremont's  Report.  Sage  married  in  1847  and  setded 
down  in  the  small  Connecticut  town  of  his  birth,  Upper  Middletown,  where 
he  farmed  until  his  death  (sage,  1:1-27,  2:41). 

11.  Francois  Latulippe,  previously  identified.  Perhaps  as  an  added  induce- 
ment, JCF  bought  twelve  buffalo  hides  from  him  (voucher  no.  23,  p.  152). 
According  to  Sage  a  pack  of  buffalo  robes  generally  embraced  ten  skins  and 
weighed  about  eighty  pounds  (sage,  2:19n).  Latulippe  was  paid  off  at  Fort 
John  on  the  return  trip. 


them  to  supper  with  me,  and  Randolph  and  the  young  Cheyenne, 
who  had  been  eyeing  each  other  suspiciously  and  curiously,  soon  be- 
came intimate  friends.  After  supper  we  sat  down  on  the  grass,  and  I 
placed  a  sheet  of  paper  between  us,  on  which  they  traced  rudely,  but 
with  a  certain  degree  of  relative  truth,  the  watercourses  of  the  coun- 
try which  lay  between  us  and  their  villages,  and  of  which  I  desired 
to  have  some  information.  Their  companions,  they  told  us,  had 
taken  a  nearer  route  over  the  hills,  but  they  had  mounted  one  of  the 
summits  to  spy  out  the  country,  whence  they  had  caught  a  glimpse 
of  our  party,  and,  confident  of  good  treatment  at  the  hands  of  the 
whites,  hastened  to  join  company.  Latitude  of  the  camp  40°  39'  51". 

We  made  the  next  morning  sixteen  miles.  I  remarked  that  the 
ground  was  covered  in  many  places  with  an  efflorescence  of  salt,  and 
the  plants  were  not  numerous.  In  the  bottoms  was  frequently  seen 
tradescantia,  and  on  the  dry  benches  were  carduus,  cactus,  and  amor- 
pha.  A  high  wind  during  the  morning  had  increased  to  a  violent 
gale  from  the  northwest,  which  made  our  afternoon  ride  cold  and 
unpleasant.  We  had  the  welcome  sight  of  two  buffaloes  on  one  of 
the  large  islands;  and  encamped  at  a  clump  of  timber  about  seven 
miles  from  our  noon  halt,  after  a  day's  march  of  twenty-two  miles. 

The  air  was  keen  the  next  morning  at  sunrise,  the  thermometer 
standing  at  44°,  and  it  was  sufficiently  cold  to  make  overcoats  very 
comfortable.  A  few  miles  brought  us  into  the  midst  of  the  Buffalo, 
swarming  in  immense  numbers  over  the  plains,  where  they  had  left 
scarcely  a  blade  of  grass  standing.  Mr.  Preuss,  who  was  sketching  at 
a  little  distance  in  the  rear,  had  at  first  noted  them  as  large  groves  of 
timber.  In  the  sight  of  such  a  mass  of  life,  the  traveller  feels  a  strange 
emotion  of  grandeur.  We  had  heard  from  a  distance  a  dull  and  con- 
fused murmuring,  and  when  we  came  in  view  of  their  dark  masses, 
there  was  not  one  among  us  who  did  not  feel  his  heart  beat  quicker. 
It  was  the  early  part  of  the  day,  when  the  herds  are  feeding;  and 
every  where  they  were  in  motion.  Here  and  there  a  huge  old  bull 
was  rolling  in  the  grass,  and  clouds  of  dust  rose  in  the  air  from  vari- 
ous parts  of  the  bands,  each  the  scene  of  some  obstinate  fight.  Indians 
and  buffalo  make  the  poetry  and  life  of  the  prairie,  and  our  camp 
was  full  of  their  exhilaration.  In  place  of  the  quiet  monotony  of 
the  march,  relieved  only  by  the  cracking  of  the  whip,  and  an 
"avance  done!  enjant  de  garcel"  shouts  and  songs  resounded  from 
every  part  of  the  line,  and  our  evening  camp  was  always  the  com- 
mencement of  a  feast,  which  terminated  only  with  our  departure  on 


the  following  morning.  At  any  time  of  the  night  might  be  seen 
pieces  of  the  most  delicate  and  choicest  meat,  roasting  en  appolas,  on 
sticks  around  the  fire,  and  the  guard  were  never  without  company. 
With  pleasant  weather  and  no  enemy  to  fear,  an  abundance  of  the 
most  excellent  meat,  and  no  scarcity  of  bread  or  tobacco,  they  were 
enjoying  the  oasis  of  a  voyageur's  life.  Three  cows  were  killed  to- 
day. Kit  Carson  had  shot  one,  and  was  continuing  the  chase  in  the 
midst  of  another  herd,  when  his  horse  fell  headlong,  but  sprang  up 
and  joined  the  flying  band.  Though  considerably  hurt,  he  had  the 
good  fortune  to  break  no  bones,  and  Maxwell,  who  was  mounted 
on  a  fleet  hunter,  captured  the  runaway  after  a  hard  chase.  He  was 
on  the  point  of  shooting  him  to  avoid  the  loss  of  his  bridle,  a  hand- 
somely mounted  Spanish  one,  when  he  found  that  his  horse  was  able 
to  come  up  with  him.  Animals  are  frequently  lost  in  this  way;  and 
it  is  necessary  to  keep  close  watch  over  them,  in  the  vicinity  of  the 
buffalo,  in  the  midst  of  which  they  scour  oflf  to  the  plains,  and  are 
rarely  retaken.  One  of  our  mules  took  a  sudden  freak  into  his  head, 
and  joined  a  neighboring  band  to-day.  As  we  were  not  in  a  condi- 
tion to  lose  horses,  I  sent  several  men  in  pursuit  and  remained  in 
camp,  in  the  hope  of  recovering  him,  but  lost  the  afternoon  to  no 
purpose,  as  we  did  not  see  him  again.  Astronomical  observations 
placed  us  in  longitude  100°  38'  10",  latitude  40°  49'  55". 

]uly  1. — Along  our  road  to-day  the  prairie  bottom  was  more 
elevated  and  dry,  and  the  hills  which  border  the  right  side  of  the 
river  higher  and  more  broken  and  picturesque  in  the  outline.  The 
country  too  was  better  timbered.  As  we  were  riding  quietly  along 
the  bank,  a  grand  herd  of  buffalo,  some  seven  or  eight  hundred  in 
number,  came  crowding  up  from  the  river,  where  they  had  been  to 
drink,  and  commenced  crossing  the  plain  slowly,  eating  as  they 
went.  The  wind  was  favorable,  the  coolness  of  the  morning  invited 
to  exercise,  the  ground  was  apparently  good,  and  the  distance  across 
the  prairie,  two  or  three  miles,  gave  us  a  fine  opportunity  to  charge 
them  before  they  could  get  among  the  river  hills.  It  was  too  fine  a 
prospect  for  a  chase  to  be  lost,  and,  halting  for  a  few  moments,  the 
hunters  were  brought  up  and  saddled,  and  Kit  Carson,  Maxwell,  and 
I,  started  together.  They  were  now  somewhat  less  than  half  a  mile 
distant,  and  we  rode  easily  along  until  within  about  three  hundred 
yards,  when  a  sudden  agitation,  a  wavering  in  the  band,  and  a  gal- 
loping to  and  fro  of  some  which  were  scattered  along  the  skirts,  gave 
us  the  intimation  that  we  were  discovered.  We  started  together  at  a 


hand  gallop,  riding  steadily  abreast  of  each  other,  and  here  the  in- 
terest of  the  chase  became  so  engrossingly  intense,  that  we  were 
sensible  to  nothing  else/"  We  were  now  closing  upon  them  rapidly, 
and  the  front  of  the  mass  was  already  in  rapid  motion  for  the  hills, 
and  in  a  few  seconds  the  movement  had  communicated  itself  to  the 
whole  herd. 

A  crowd  of  bulls,  as  usual,  brought  up  the  rear,  and  every  now 
and  then  some  of  them  faced  about,  and  then  dashed  on  after  the 
band  a  short  distance,  and  turned  and  looked  again,  as  if  more  than 
half  inclined  to  stand  and  fight.  In  a  few  moments,  however,  dur- 
ing which  we  had  been  quickening  our  pace,  the  rout  was  universal, 
and  we  were  going  over  the  ground  like  a  hurricane.  When  at  about 
thirty  yards  we  gave  the  usual  shout,  the  hunter's  pas  de  charge, 
and  broke  into  the  herd.  We  entered  on  the  side,  the  mass  giving 
way  in  every  direction  in  their  heedless  course.  Many  of  the  bulls, 
less  active  and  less  fleet  than  the  cows,  paying  no  attention  to  the 
ground,  and  occupied  solely  with  the  hunter,  were  precipitated  to 
the  earth  with  great  force,  rolling  over  and  over  with  the  violence 
of  the  shock,  and  hardly  distinguishable  in  the  dust.  We  separated 
on  entering,  each  singling  out  his  game. 

My  horse  was  a  trained  hunter,  famous  in  the  west  under  the 
name  of  Proveau,  and  with  his  eyes  flashing,  and  the  foam  flying 
from  his  mouth,  sprang  on  after  the  cow  like  a  tiger.  In  a  few  mo- 
ments he  brought  me  alongside  of  her,  and  rising  in  the  stirrups,  I 
fired  at  the  distance  of  a  yard,  the  ball  entering  at  the  termination  of 
the  long  hair,  and  passing  near  the  heart.  She  fell  headlong  at  the 
report  of  the  gun,  and  checking  my  horse,  I  looked  around  for  my 
companions.  At  a  little  distance  Kit  was  on  the  ground,  engaged  in 
tying  his  horse  to  the  horns  of  a  cow  which  he  was  preparing  to  cut 
up.  Among  the  scattered  bands  at  some  distance  below  I  caught  a 
glimpse  of  Maxwell;  and  while  I  was  looking,  a  light  wreath  of 
white  smoke  curled  away  from  his  gun,  of  which  I  was  too  far  to 
hear  the  report.  Nearer,  and  between  me  and  the  hills,  towards 
which  they  were  directing  their  course,  was  the  body  of  the  herd, 
and  giving  my  horse  the  rein,  we  dashed  after  them.  A  thick  cloud 
of  dust  hung  upon  their  rear,  which  filled  my  mouth  and  eyes,  and 

12.  After  this  sentence,  a  prudent  deletion  in  the  manuscript  draft:  "Fifty 
Indians  might  have  charged  upon  us  and  not  been  seen  until  they  were  at 
our  bridles." 


nearly  smothered  me.  In  the  midst  of  this  I  could  see  nothing,  and 
the  buffalo  were  not  distinguishable  until  within  thirty  feet.  They 
crowded  together  more  densely  still  as  I  came  upon  them,  and 
rushed  along  in  such  a  compact  body,  that  I  could  not  obtain  an 
entrance — the  horse  almost  leaping  upon  them.  In  a  few  moments 
the  mass  divided  to  the  right  and  left,  the  horns  clattering  with  a 
noise  heard  above  every  thing  else,  and  my  horse  darted  into  the 
opening.  Five  or  six  bulls  charged  on  us  as  we  dashed  along  the 
line,  but  were  left  far  behind,  and  singling  out  a  cow,  I  gave  her  my 
fire,  but  struck  too  high.  She  gave  a  tremendous  leap,  and  scoured  on 
swifter  than  before.  I  reined  up  my  horse,  and  the  band  swept  on 
like  a  torrent,  and  left  the  place  quiet  and  clear.^^  Our  chase  had  led 
us  into  dangerous  ground.  A  prairie-dog  village  so  thickly  settled 
that  there  were  three  or  four  holes  in  every  twenty  yards  square, 
occupied  the  whole  bottom  for  nearly  two  miles  in  length.  Looking 
around,  I  saw  only  one  of  the  hunters,  nearly  out  of  sight,  and  the 
long  dark  line  of  our  caravan  crawling  along,  three  or  four  miles 
distant.  After  a  march  of  twenty-four  miles,  we  encamped  at  night- 
fall, one  mile  and  a  half  above  the  lower  end  of  Brady's  island." 
The  breadth  of  this  arm  of  the  river  was  eight  hundred  and  eighty 
yards,  and  the  water  nowhere  two  feet  in  depth.  The  island  bears 
the  name  of  a  man  killed  on  this  spot  some  years  ago.  His  party  had 
encamped  here,  three  in  company,  and  one  of  the  number  went  ofT 
to  hunt,  leaving  Brady  and  his  companion  together.  These  two  had 
frequently  quarrelled,  and  on  the  hunter's  return  he  found  Brady 
dead,  and  was  told  that  he  had  shot  himself  accidentally.  He  was 
buried  here  on  the  bank,  but,  as  usual,  the  wolves  had  torn  him  out, 
and  some  human  bones  that  were  lying  on  the  ground  we  supposed 
were  his.  Troops  of  wolves  that  were  hanging  on  the  skirts  of  the 
buffalo,  kept  up  an  uninterrupted  howling  during  the  night,  ven- 
turing almost  into  camp.  In  the  morning,  they  were  sitting  at  a  short 
distance,  barking,  and  impatiently  waiting  our  departure,  to  fall 
upon  the  bones. 
July  2. — The  morning  was  cool  and  smoky.  Our  road  led  closer  to 

13.  Deleted  from  the  manuscript  draft  at  this  point:  "I  looked  around  & 
saw  only  one  of  the  hunters  nearly  out  of  sight,  &  the  long  dark  line  of  our 
caravan  crawling  slowly  along,  three  or  four  miles  distant." 

14.  Brady's  Island,  about  fifteen  miles  long,  lies  just  below  North  Platte, 
Nebr.  It  apparently  was  named  after  a  man  called  Brada  or  Brady,  variously 
reported  to  have  been  killed  in  1827  or  1833  (anderson,  190n). 


the  hills,  which  here  increased  in  elevation,  presenting  an  outline  of 
conical  peaks  three  hundred  to  five  hundred  feet  high.  Some  timber, 
apparently  pine,  grew  in  the  ravines,  and  streaks  of  clay  or  sand 
whiten  their  slopes.  We  crossed  during  the  morning  a  number  of 
hollows,  timbered  principally  with  box  elder  (acer  jiegundo),  poplar 
and  elm.  Brady's  island  is  well  wooded,  and  all  the  river  along 
which  our  road  led  to-day  may,  in  general,  be  called  tolerably  well 
timbered.  We  passed  near  an  encampment  of  the  Oregon  emigrants, 
where  they  appear  to  have  reposed  several  days.  A  variety  of  house- 
hold articles  were  scattered  about,  and  they  had  probably  disbur- 
dened themselves  here  of  many  things  not  absolutely  necessary.  I  had 
left  the  usual  road  before  the  mid-day  halt,  and  in  the  afternoon, 
having  sent  several  men  in  advance  to  reconnoitre,  marched  directly 
for  the  mouth  of  the  South  fork.  On  our  arrival,  the  horsemen  were 
sent  in  and  scattered  about  the  river  to  search  the  best  fording  places, 
and  the  carts  followed  immediately.  The  stream  is  here  divided  by 
an  island  into  two  channels.  The  southern  is  four  hundred  and  fifty 
feet  wide,  having  eighteen  or  twenty  inches  water  in  the  deepest 
places.  With  the  exception  of  a  few  dry  bars,  the  bed  of  the  river  is 
generally  quicksands,  in  which  the  carts  began  to  sink  rapidly  so 
soon  as  the  mules  halted,  so  that  it  was  necessary  to  keep  them  con- 
stantly in  motion. 

The  northern  channel,  2,250  feet  wide,  was  somewhat  deeper,  hav- 
ing frequently  three  feet  water  in  the  numerous  small  channels,  with 
a  bed  of  coarse  gravel.  The  whole  breadth  of  the  Nebraska  [Platte], 
immediately  below  the  junction,  is  5,350  feet.  All  our  equipage  had 
reached  the  left  bank  safely  at  six  o'clock,  having  to-day  made 
twenty  miles.  We  encamped  at  the  point  of  land  immediately  at  the 
junction  of  the  North  and  South  forks.  Between  the  streams  is  a 
low  rich  prairie,  extending  from  their  confluence  18  miles  west- 
wardly  to  the  bordering  hills,  where  it  is  5|  miles  wide.  It  is  covered 
with  a  luxuriant  growth  of  grass,  and  along  the  banks  is  a  slight  and 
scattered  fringe  of  cottonwood  and  willow.  In  the  buffalo  trails  and 
wallows,  I  remarked  saline  efflorescences,  to  which  a  rapid  evapora- 
tion in  the  great  heat  of  the  sun  probably  contributes,  as  the  soil  is 
entirely  unprotected  by  timber.  In  the  vicinity  of  these  places  there 
was  a  bluish  grass,  which  the  cattle  refuse  to  eat,  called  by  the 
voyageurs  "herbe  sake,"  (salt  grass).  The  latitude  of  the  junction  is 
41°  4'  47",  and  longitude  by  chronometer  and  lunar  distances, 
10r21'24".  The  elevation  above  the  sea  is  about  2,700  feet.  The 


hunters  came  in  with  a  fat  cow,  and,  as  we  had  labored  hard,  we  en- 
joyed well  a  supper  of  roasted  ribs  and  boudins,  the  chej  d'ceuvre  of 
a  prairie  cook.  Mosquitoes  thronged  about  us  this  evening;  but,  by 
10  o'clock,  when  the  thermometer  had  fallen  to  47°,  they  had  all 

]uly  3. — As  this  was  to  be  a  point  in  our  homeward  journey,  I 
made  a  cache  (a  term  used  in  all  this  country  for  what  is  hidden  in 
the  ground)  of  a  barrel  of  pork.  It  was  impossible  to  conceal  such  a 
proceeding  from  the  sharp  eyes  of  our  Cheyenne  companions,  and  I 
therefore  told  them  to  go  and  see  what  it  was  they  were  burying. 
They  would  otherwise  have  not  failed  to  return  and  destroy  our 
cache,  in  expectation  of  some  rich  booty;  but  pork  they  dislike  and 
never  eat.  We  left  our  camp  at  9,  continuing  up  the  South  fork,  the 
prairie  bottom  affording  us  a  fair  road;  but  in  the  long  grass  we 
roused  myriads  of  mosquitoes  and  flies,  from  which  our  horses  suf- 
fered severely.  The  day  was  smoky,  with  a  pleasant  breeze  from,  the 
south,  and  the  plains  on  the  opposite  side  were  covered  with  bufiFalo. 
Having  travelled  twenty-five  miles  we  encamped  at  6  in  the  evening, 
and  the  men  were  sent  across  the  river  for  wood,  as  there  is  none 
here  on  the  left  bank.  Our  fires  were  partially  made  of  the  hois  de 
vache,  the  dry  excrement  of  the  bufTalo,  which  like  that  of  the  camel 
in  the  Arabian  deserts,  furnishes  to  the  traveller  a  very  good  sub- 
stitute for  wood,  burning  like  turf.  Wolves  in  great  numbers  sur- 
rounded us  during  the  night,  crossing  and  recrossing  from  the 
opposite  herds  to  our  camp,  and  howling  and  trotting  about  in  the 
river  until  morning. 

luly  4. — The  morning  was  very  smoky,  the  sun  shining  dimly  and 
red,  as  in  a  thick  fog.  The  camp  was  roused  with  a  salute  at  day- 
break, and  from  our  scanty  store  a  portion  of  what  our  Indian 
friends  called  the  "red  fire  water"  served  out  to  the  men.  While  we 
were  at  breakfast,  a  buffalo  calf  broke  through  the  camp,  followed 
by  a  couple  of  wolves.  In  its  fright,  it  had  probably  mistaken  us  for 
a  band  of  bufTalo.  The  wolves  were  obliged  to  make  a  circuit  around 
the  camp,  so  that  the  calf  got  a  little  the  start,  and  strained  every 
nerve  to  reach  a  large  herd  at  the  foot  of  the  hills,  about  two  miles 
distant;  but  first  one  and  then  another  and  another  wolf  joined  in 
the  chase,  until  his  pursuers  amounted  to  twenty  or  thirty,  and  they 

15.  Here  the  manuscript  draft  carries  the  phrase,  "Characteristic  Plants,' 
but  none  are  named. 


ran  him  down  before  he  could  reach  his  friends.  There  were  a  few 
bulls  near  the  place,  and  one  of  them  attacked  the  wolves  and  tried  to 
rescue  him;  but  was  driven  off  immediately,  and  the  little  animal  fell 
an  easy  prey,  half  devoured  before  he  was  dead.  We  watched  the 
chase  with  the  interest  always  felt  for  the  weak,  and  had  there  been 
a  saddled  horse  at  hand,  he  would  have  fared  better.  Leaving  camp, 
our  road  soon  approached  the  hills  in  which  strata  of  a  marl  like 
that  of  the  chimney  rock,  hereafter  described,  make  their  appear- 
ance. It  is  probably  of  this  rock  that  the  hills  on  the  right  bank  of  the 
Platte,  a  little  below  the  junction,  are  composed,  and  which  are 
worked  by  the  winds  and  rains  into  sharp  peaks  and  cones,  giving 
them,  in  contrast  to  the  surrounding  level  region,  something  of  a 
picturesque  appearance.  We  crossed  this  morning  numerous  beds  of 
the  small  creeks  which,  in  the  time  of  rains  and  melting  snow,  pour 
down  from  the  ridge,  bringing  down  with  them  always  great  quan- 
tities of  sand  and  gravel,  which  have  gradually  raised  their  beds 
four  to  ten  feet  above  the  level  of  the  prairie  which  they  cross,  mak- 
ing each  one  of  them  a  miniature  Po.  Raised  in  this  way  above  the 
surrounding  prairie,  without  any  bank,  the  long  yellow  and  wind- 
ing line  of  their  beds  resembles  a  causeway  from  the  hills  to 
the  river.  Many  spots  on  the  prairie  are  yellow  with  sunflower 

As  we  were  riding  slowly  along  this  afternoon,  clouds  of  dust  in 
the  ravines  among  the  hills  to  the  right,  suddenly  attracted  our  at- 
tention, and  in  a  few  minutes  column  after  column  of  buffalo  came 
galloping  down,  making  directly  to  the  river.  By  the  time  the  lead- 
ing herds  had  reached  the  water,  the  prairie  was  darkened  with  the 
dense  masses.  Immediately  before  us,  when  the  bands  first  came 
down  into  the  valley,  stretched  an  unbroken  line,  the  head  of  which 
was  lost  among  the  river  hills  on  the  opposite  side,  and  still  they  poured 
down  from  the  ridge  on  our  right.  From  hill  to  hill  the  prairie  bot- 
tom was  certainly  not  less  than  two  miles  wide,  and  allowing  the 
animals  to  be  ten  feet  apart,  and  only  ten  in  a  line,  there  were  al- 
ready 11,000  in  view.  Some  idea  may  thus  be  formed  of  their  number 
when  they  had  occupied  the  whole  plain.  In  a  short  time  they  sur- 
rounded us  on  every  side,  extending  for  several  miles  in  the  rear,  and 
forward,  as  far  as  the  eye  could  reach,  leaving  around  us  as  we  ad- 
vanced, an  open  space  of  only  two  or  three  hundred  yards.  This 
movement  of  the  bufifalo  indicated  to  us  the  presence  of  Indians  on 
the  North  fork. 


I  halted  earlier  than  usual,  about  forty  miles  from  the  junction, 
and  all  hands  were  soon  busily  engaged  in  preparing  a  feast  to  cele- 
brate the  day.  The  kindness  of  our  friends  at  St.  Louis  had  provided 
us  with  a  large  supply  of  excellent  preserves  and  rich  fruit  cake;  and 
when  these  were  added  to  a  macaroni  soup  and  variously  prepared 
dishes  of  the  choicest  buffalo  meat,  crowned  with  a  cup  of  coffee, 
and  enjoyed  with  prairie  appetite,  we  felt,  as  we  sat  in  barbaric 
luxury  around  our  smoking  supper  on  the  grass,  a  greater  sensation 
of  enjoyment  than  the  Roman  epicure  at  his  perfumed  feast.  But 
most  of  all  it  seemed  to  please  our  Indian  friends,  who  in  the  unre- 
strained enjoyment  of  the  moment,  demanded  to  know  if  our  "med- 
icine days  came  often."  No  restraint  was  exercised  at  the  hospitable 
board,  and,  to  the  great  delight  of  his  elders,  our  young  Indian  lad 
made  himself  extremely  drunk. 

Our  encampment  was  within  a  few  miles  of  the  place  where  the 
road  crosses  to  the  North  fork,  and  various  reasons  led  me  to  divide 
my  party  at  this  point.  The  North  fork  was  the  principal  object  of 
my  survey,  but  I  was  desirous  to  ascend  the  South  branch,  with  a 
view  of  obtaining  some  astronomical  positions,  and  determining  the 
mouths  of  its  tributaries  as  far  as  St.  Vrain's  fort,  estimated  to  be 
some  two  hundred  miles  further  up  the  river,  and  near  to  Long's 
peak.  There  I  hoped  to  obtain  some  mules,  which  I  found  would  be 
necessary  to  relieve  my  horses.  In  a  military  point  of  view,  I  was 
desirous  to  form  some  opinion  of  the  country  relative  to  the  estab- 
lishment of  posts  on  a  line  connecting  the  settlements  with  the 
South  pass  of  the  Rocky  mountains,  by  way  of  the  Arkansas,  the 
South  and  Laramie  forks  of  the  Platte.  Crossing  the  country  north- 
westwardly from  St.  Vrain's  fort,  to  the  American  company's  fort  at 
the  mouth  of  Laramie,  would  give  me  some  acquaintance  with  the 
affluents  which  head  in  the  mountains  between  the  two;  I  therefore 
determined  to  set  out  the  next  morning,  accompanied  by  Mr.  Preuss 
and  four  men.  Maxwell,  Bernier,  Ayot,  and  Basil  Lajeunesse.  Our 
Cheyennes,  whose  village  lay  up  this  river,  also  decided  to  accom- 
pany us.  The  party  I  left  in  charge  of  Clement  Lambert,  with  orders 
to  cross  to  the  North  fork ;  and  at  some  convenient  place,  near  to  the 
Coulee  des  Frenes  [Ash  Hollow],  make  a  cache  of  every  thing  not 
absolutely  necessary  to  the  further  progress  of  our  expedition.  From 
this  point,  using  the  most  guarded  precaution  in  his  march  through 
the  country,  he  was  to  proceed  to  the  American  [Fur]  company's  fort 
at  the  mouth  of  Laramie's  fork,  and  await  my  arrival,  which  would 


be  prior  to  the  16th,  as  on  that  and  the  following  night  would  occur 
some  occultations  which  I  was  desirous  to  obtain  at  that  place. 

July  5. — Before  breakfast  all  was  ready.  We  had  one  led  horse  in 
addition  to  those  we  rode,  and  a  pack  mule,  destined  to  carry  our 
instruments,  provisions,  and  baggage;  the  last  two  articles  not  being 
of  very  great  weight.  The  instruments  consisted  of  a  sextant,  artifi- 
cial horizon,  &c.,  a  barometer,  spy  glass,  and  compass.  The  chronom- 
eter I  of  course  kept  on  my  person.  I  had  ordered  the  cook  to  put  up 
for  us  some  flour,  cofTee,  and  sugar,  and  our  rifles  were  to  furnish  the 
rest.  One  blanket,  in  addition  to  his  saddle  and  saddle  blanket,  fur- 
nished the  materials  for  each  man's  bed,  and  every  one  was  provided 
with  a  change  of  linen.  All  were  armed  with  rifles  or  double  bar- 
relled guns;  and,  in  addition  to  these,  Maxwell  and  myself  were  fur- 
nished with  excellent  pistols.  Thus  accoutred,  we  took  a  parting 
breakfast  with  our  friends,  and  set  forth. 

Our  journey  the  first  day  afforded  nothing  of  any  interest.  We 
shot  a  buffalo  toward  sunset,  and  having  obtained  some  meat  for  our 
evening  meal,  encamped  where  a  little  timber  afforded  us  the  means 
of  making  a  fire.  Having  disposed  our  meat  on  roasting  sticks,  we 
proceeded  to  unpack  our  bales  in  search  of  coffee  and  sugar,  and 
flour  for  bread.  With  the  exception  of  a  little  parched  coffee,  un- 
ground,  we  found  nothing.  Our  cook  had  neglected  to  put  it  up,  or 
it  had  been  somehow  forgotten.  Tired  and  hungry,  with  tough  bull 
meat  without  salt,  for  we  had  not  been  able  to  kill  a  cow,  and  a  little 
bitter  coffee,  we  sat  down  in  silence  to  our  miserable  fare,  a  very 
disconsolate  party;  for  yesterday's  feast  was  yet  fresh  in  our  mem- 
ories, and  this  was  our  first  brush  with  misfortune.  Each  man  took 
his  blanket,  and  laid  himself  down  silently;  for  the  worst  part  of 
these  mishaps  is,  that  they  make  people  ill-humored.  To-day  we  had 
travelled  about  thirty-six  miles. 

]uly  6. — Finding  that  our  present  excursion  would  be  attended 
with  considerable  hardship,  and  unwilling  to  expose  more  persons 
than  necessary,  I  determined  to  send  Mr.  Preuss  back  to  the  party. 
His  horse,  too,  appeared  in  no  condition  to  support  the  journey,  and 
accordingly,  after  breakfast,  he  took  the  road  across  the  hills  attended 
by  one  of  my  most  trusty  men,  Bernier.  The  ridge  between  the  rivers 
is  here  about  fifteen  miles  broad,  and  I  expected  he  would  probably 
strike  the  fork  near  their  evening  camp.  At  all  events,  he  would  not 
fail  to  find  their  trail  and  rejoin  them  the  next  day. 

We  continued  our  journey,  seven  in  number,  including  the  three 



Cheyennes.  Our  general  course  was  southwest,  up  the  valley  of  the 
river,  which  was  sandy,  bordered  on  the  northern  side  of  the  valley 
by  a  low  ridge,  and  on  the  south,  after  seven  or  eight  miles,  the  river 
hills  became  higher.  Six  miles  from  our  resting  place  we  crossed  the 
bed  of  a  considerable  stream,  now  entirely  dry,  a  bed  of  sand.  In  a 
grove  of  willows,  near  the  mouth,  were  the  remains  of  a  considerable 
fort,  constructed  of  trunks  of  large  trees.  It  was  apparently  very  old, 
and  had  probably  been  the  scene  of  some  hostile  encounter  among 
the  roving  tribes.  Its  solitude  formed  an  impressive  contrast  to  the 
picture  which  our  imaginations  involuntarily  drew  of  the  busy  scene 
which  had  been  enacted  here.  The  timber  appeared  to  have  been 
much  more  extensive  formerly  than  now.  There  were  but  few  trees, 
a  kind  of  long-leaved  willow,  standing;  and  numerous  trunks  of 
large  trees  were  scattered  about  on  the  ground.  In  many  similar 
places  I  had  occasion  to  remark  an  apparent  progressive  decay  in  the 
timber.  Ten  miles  farther  we  reached  the  mouth  of  Lodge  Pole 
creek,^^  a  clear  and  handsome  stream,  running  through  a  broad 
valley.  In  its  course  through  the  bottom  it  has  a  uniform  breadth  of 
twenty-two  feet,  and  six  inches  in  depth.  A  few  willows  on  the 
banks  strike  pleasantly  on  the  eye,  by  their  greenness,  in  the  midst  of 
the  hot  and  barren  sands. 

The  amor p ha  was  frequent  among  the  ravines,  but  the  sunflower 
{heUanthus)  was  the  characteristic;  and  flowers  of  deep  warm  colors 
seem  most  to  love  the  sandy  soil.  The  impression  of  the  country 
travelled  over  to-day  was  one  of  dry  and  barren  sands.  We  turned  in 
towards  the  river  at  noon,  and  gave  our  horses  two  hours  for  food 
and  rest.  I  had  no  other  thermometer  than  the  one  attached  to  the 
barometer,  which  stood  at  89°,  the  height  of  the  column  in  the 
barometer  being  26.235,  at  meridian.  The  sky  was  clear,  with  a  high 
wind  from  the  south.  At  2,  we  continued  our  journey;  the  wind  had 
moderated,  and  it  became  almost  unendurably  hot,  and  our  animals 
suffered  severely.  In  the  course  of  the  afternoon,  the  wind  rose  sud- 
denly, and  blew  hard  from  the  southwest,  with  thunder  and  light- 
ning and  squalls  of  rain ;  these  were  blown  against  us  with  violence 
by  the  wind,  and,  halting,  we  turned  our  backs  to  the  storm  until  it 
blew  over.  Antelope  were  tolerably  frequent,  with  a  large  gray  hare; 
but  the  former  were  shy,  and  the  latter  hardly  worth  the  delay  of 

16.  Called  Pole  Creek  on  his  map,  but  now  Lodgepole  Creek,  entering  the 
South  Platte  from  the  north  at  Julesburg,  Colo. 


stopping  to  shoot  them ;  so,  as  the  evening  drew  near,  we  again  had 
recourse  to  an  old  bull,  and  encamped  at  sunset  on  an  island  in  the 

We  ate  our  meat  with  good  relish  this  evening,  for  we  were  all  in 
fine  health,  and  had  ridden  nearly  all  of  a  long  summer's  day,  with 
a  burning  sun  reflected  from  the  sands.  My  companions  slept  rolled 
up  in  their  blankets,  and  the  Indians  lay  in  the  grass  near  the  fire, 
but  my  sleeping  place  generally  had  an  air  of  more  pretension.  Our 
rifles  were  tied  together  near  the  muzzle,  the  butts  resting  on  the 
ground,  and  a  knife  laid  on  the  rope,  to  cut  away  in  case  of  an 
alarm.  Over  this,  which  made  a  kind  of  frame,  was  thrown  a  large 
India-rubber  cloth,  which  we  used  to  cover  our  packs.  This  made  a 
tent  sufficiently  large  to  receive  about  half  of  my  bed,  and  was  a 
place  of  shelter  for  my  instruments;  and  as  I  was  careful  always  to 
put  this  part  against  the  wind,  I  could  lie  here  with  a  sensation  of 
satisfied  enjoyment,  and  hear  the  wind  blow  and  the  rain  patter 
close  to  my  head,  and  know  that  I  should  be  at  least  half  dry.  Cer- 
tainly, I  never  slept  more  soundly.  The  barometer  at  sunset  was 
26.010,  thermometer  81°,  and  cloudy;  but  a  gale  from  the  west 
sprang  up  with  the  setting  sun,  and  in  a  few  minutes  swept  away 
every  cloud  from  the  sky.  The  evening  was  very  fine,  and  I  re- 
mained up  to  take  some  astronomical  observations,  which  made  our 
position  in  latitude  40°  51'  17",  and  longitude  103°  35' 04". 

]uly  7. — At  our  camp  this  morning,  at  6  o'clock,  the  barometer  was 
at  26.183,  thermometer  69°,  and  clear,  with  a  light  wind  from  the 
southwest.  The  past  night  had  been  squally,  with  high  winds,  and 
occasionally  a  few  drops  of  rain.  Our  cooking  did  not  occupy  much 
time,  and  we  left  camp  early.  Nothing  of  interest  occurred  during 
the  morning.  The  same  dreary  barrenness,  except  that  a  hard  marly 
clay  had  replaced  the  sandy  soil.  Buffalo  absolutely  covered  the  plain 
on  both  sides  of  the  river,  and  whenever  we  ascended  the  hills,  scat- 
tered herds  gave  life  to  the  view  in  every  direction.  A  small  drove  of 
wild  horses  made  their  appearance  on  the  low  river  bottoms,  a  mile 
or  two  to  the  left,  and  I  sent  off  one  of  the  Indians  (who  seemed 
very  eager  to  catch  one)  on  my  led  horse,  a  spirited  and  fleet  animal. 
The  savage  manoeuvred  a  little  to  get  the  wind  of  the  horses,  in 
which  he  succeeded;  approaching  within  a  hundred  yards  without 
being  discovered.  The  chase  for  a  few  minutes  was  animated  and  in- 
teresting. My  hunter  easily  overtook  and  passed  the  hindmost  of  the 
wild  drove,  which  the  Indian  did  not  attempt  to  lasso;  all  his  efforts 


being  directed  to  the  capture  of  the  leader.  But  the  strength  of  the 
horse,  weakened  by  the  insufficient  nourishment  of  grass,  failed  in  a 
race,  and  all  the  drove  escaped.  We  halted  at  noon  on  the  bank  of  the 
river,  the  barometer  at  that  time  being  26.192,  and  the  thermometer 
103°,  with  a  light  air  from  the  south  and  clear  weather. 

In  the  course  of  the  afternoon,  dust  rising  among  the  hills  at  a 
particular  place,  attracted  our  attention,  and  riding  up  we  found 
a  band  of  eighteen  or  twenty  buffalo  bulls  engaged  in  a  desperate 
fight.  Though  butting  and  goring  were  bestowed  liberally  and  with- 
out distinction,  yet  their  efforts  were  evidently  directed  against  one, 
a  huge  gaunt  old  bull,  very  lean,  while  his  adversaries  were  all  fat 
and  in  good  order.  He  appeared  very  weak,  and  had  already  received 
some  wounds,  and  while  we  were  looking  on  was  several  times 
knocked  down  and  badly  hurt,  and  a  very  few  moments  would  have 
put  an  end  to  him.  Of  course  we  took  the  side  of  the  weaker  party, 
and  attacked  the  herd,  but  they  were  so  blind  with  rage  that  they 
fought  on,  utterly  regardless  of  our  presence,  although  on  foot  and 
on  horseback  we  were  firing  in  open  view  within  twenty  yards  of 
them.  But  this  did  not  last  long.  In  a  very  few  seconds  we  created  a 
commotion  among  them.  One  or  two  which  were  knocked  over  by 
the  balls  jumped  up  and  ran  ofT  into  the  hills,  and  they  began  to 
retreat  slowly  along  a  broad  ravine  to  the  river,  fighting  furiously  as 
they  went.  By  the  time  they  had  reached  the  bottom  we  had  pretty 
well  dispersed  them,  and  the  old  bull  hobbled  off,  to  lie  down  some- 
where. One  of  his  enemies  remained  on  the  ground  where  we  had 
first  fired  upon  them,  and  we  stopped  there  for  a  short  time  to  cut 
from  him  some  meat  for  our  supper.  We  had  neglected  to  secure  our 
horses,  thinking  it  an  unnecessary  precaution  in  their  fatigued  con- 
dition; but  our  mule  took  it  into  his  head  to  start,  and  away  he  went, 
followed  at  full  speed  by  the  pack  horse,  with  all  the  baggage  and 
instruments  on  his  back.  They  were  recovered  and  brought  back, 
after  a  chase  of  a  mile.  Fortunately  every  thing  was  well  secured,  so 
that  nothing,  not  even  the  barometer,  was  in  the  least  injured. 

The  sun  was  getting  low,  and  some  narrow  lines  of  timber  four  or 
five  miles  distant,  promised  us  a  pleasant  camp,  where,  with  plenty 
of  wood  for  fire,  and  comfortable  shelter,  and  rich  grass  for  our 
animals,  we  should  find  clear  cool  springs,  instead  of  the  warm  water 
of  the  Platte.  On  our  arrival  we  found  the  bed  of  a  stream  fifty  to 
one  hundred  feet  wide,  sunk  some  thirty  feet  below  the  level  of  the 
prairie,  with  perpendicular  banks,  bordered  by  a  fringe  of  green 


Cottonwood,  but  not  a  drop  of  water.  There  were  several  small  forks 
to  the  stream  all  in  the  same  condition.  With  the  exception  of  the 
Platte  bottom,  the  country  seemed  to  be  of  a  clay  formation,  dry,  and 
perfectly  devoid  of  any  moisture,  and  baked  hard  by  the  sun.  Turn- 
ing off  towards  the  river,  we  reached  the  bank  in  about  a  mile,  and 
were  delighted  to  find  an  old  tree,  with  thick  foliage  and  spreading 
branches,  where  we  encamped.  At  sunset,  the  barometer  was  at 
25,950,  thermometer  81°,  with  a  strong  wind  from  S.  20°  E.,  and  the 
sky  partially  covered  with  heavy  masses  of  cloud,  which  settled  a 
little  towards  the  horizon  by  10  o'clock,  leaving  it  sufficiently  clear 
for  astronomical  observations,  which  placed  us  in  latitude  40°  33'  26", 
and  longitude  104°  02'  13". 

July  8. — The  morning  was  very  pleasant.  The  breeze  was  fresh 
from  S.  50°  E.  with  few  clouds;  the  barometer  at  6  o'clock  standing 
at  25,970,  and  the  thermometer  at  70°.  Since  leaving  the  forks,  our 
route  had  passed  over  a  country  alternately  clay  and  sand,  each  pre- 
senting the  same  naked  waste.  On  leaving  camp  this  morning,  we 
struck  again  a  sandy  region,  in  which  the  vegetation  appeared  some- 
what more  vigorous  than  that  which  we  had  observed  for  the  last  few 
days,  and  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  river  were  some  tolerably  large 
groves  of  timber. 

Journeying  along,  we  came  suddenly  upon  a  place  where  the 
ground  was  covered  with  horses'  tracks,  which  had  been  made  since 
the  rain,  and  indicated  the  immediate  presence  of  Indians  in  our 
neighborhood.  The  bufFalo,  too,  which  the  day  before  had  been  so 
numerous,  were  nowhere  in  sight,  another  sure  indication  that  there 
were  people  near.  Riding  on,  we  discovered  the  carcass  of  a  buffalo 
recently  killed,  perhaps  the  day  before.  We  scanned  the  horizon 
carefully  with  the  glass,  but  no  living  object  was  to  be  seen.  For  the 
next  mile  or  two  the  ground  was  dotted  with  buffalo  carcasses, 
which  showed  that  the  Indians  had  made  a  surround  here,  and  were 
in  considerable  force.  We  went  on  quickly  and  cautiously,  keeping 
the  river  bottom,  and  carefully  avoiding  the  hills;  but  we  met  with 
no  interruption,  and  began  to  grow  careless  again.  We  had  already 
lost  one  of  our  horses,  and  here  Basil's  mule  showed  symptoms  of 
giving  out,  and  finally  refused  to  advance,  being  what  the  Canadians 
call  reste.  He  therefore  dismounted,  and  drove  her  along  before  him, 
but  this  was  a  very  slow  way  of  travelling.  We  had  inadvertently  got 
about  half  a  mile  in  advance,  but  our  Cheyennes,  who  were  gener- 
ally a  mile  or  two  in  the  rear,  remained  with  him.  There  were  some 


dark  looking  objects  among  the  hills,  about  two  miles  to  the  left, 
here  low  and  undulating,  which  we  had  seen  for  a  little  time,  and 
supposed  to  be  buffalo  coming  in  to  water;  but  happening  to  look 
behind,  Maxwell  saw  the  Cheyennes  whipping  up  furiously,  and  an- 
other glance  at  the  dark  objects  showed  them  at  once  to  be  Indians 
coming  up  at  speed. 

Had  we  been  well  mounted  and  disencumbered  of  instruments, 
we  might  have  set  them  at  defiance,  but  as  it  was,  we  were  fairly 
caught.  It  was  too  late  to  rejoin  our  friends,  and  we  endeavored  to 
gain  a  clump  of  timber  about  half  a  mile  ahead;  but  the  instruments 
and  the  tired  state  of  our  horses  did  not  allow  us  to  go  faster  than  a 
steady  canter,  and  they  were  gaining  on  us  fast.  At  first  they  did  not 
appear  to  be  more  than  fifteen  or  twenty  in  number,  but  group  after 
group  darted  into  view  at  the  top  of  the  hills,  until  all  the  little 
eminences  seemed  in  motion,  and  in  a  few  minutes  from  the  time 
they  were  first  discovered,  two  or  three  hundred,  naked  to  the 
breech  cloth,  were  sweeping  across  the  prairie.  In  a  few  hundred 
yards  we  discovered  that  the  timber  we  were  endeavoring  to  make 
was  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  river,  and  before  we  could  reach  the 
bank,  down  came  the  Indians  upon  us. 

I  am  inclined  to  think  that  in  a  few  seconds  more  the  leading 
man,  and  perhaps,  some  of  his  companions,  would  have  rolled  in  the 
dust,  for  we  had  jerked  the  covers  from  our  guns,  and  our  fingers 
were  on  the  triggers ;  men  in  such  cases  generally  act  from  instinct, 
and  a  charge  from  three  hundred  naked  savages  is  a  circumstance 
not  well  calculated  to  promote  a  cool  exercise  of  judgment.  Just  as  he 
was  about  to  fire.  Maxwell  recognized  the  leading  Indian,  and 
shouted  to  him  in  the  Indian  language.  You're  a  fool,  God  damn 
you,  don't  you  know  me  ?  The  sound  of  his  own  language  seemed  to 
shock  the  savage,  and,  swerving  his  horse  a  little,  he  passed  us  like 
an  arrow.  He  wheeled,  as  I  rode  out  toward  him,  and  gave  me  his 
hand,  striking  his  breast  and  exclaiming,  Arapaho!  They  proved  to 
be  a  village  of  that  nation  among  whom  Maxwell  had  resided  as  a 
trader  a  year  or  two  previously,  and  recognized  him  accordingly.  We 
were  soon  in  the  midst  of  the  band,  answering  as  well  as  we  could 
a  multitude  of  questions,  of  which  the  very  first  was,  of  what  tribe 
were  our  Indian  companions  who  were  coming  in  the  rear?  They 
seemed  disappointed  to  know  that  they  were  Cheyennes,  for  they 
had  fully  anticipated  a  grand  dance  around  a  Pawnee  scalp  that 


The  chief  showed  us  his  village  at  a  grove  on  the  river  six  miles 
ahead,  and  pointed  out  a  band  of  Buffalo,  on  the  other  side  of  the 
Platte  immediately  opposite  us,  which  he  said  they  were  going  to 
surround.  They  had  seen  the  band  early  in  the  morning  from  their 
village,  and  had  been  making  a  large  circuit  to  avoid  giving  them 
the  wind,  when  they  discovered  us.  In  a  few  minutes  the  women 
came  galloping  up,  astride  on  their  horses,  and  naked  from  their 
knees  down,  and  the  hips  up.  They  followed  the  men  to  assist  in  cut- 
ting up  and  carrying  ofif  the  meat. 

The  wind  was  blowing  directly  across  the  river,  and  the  chief  re- 
quested us  to  halt  where  we  were,  for  a  while,  in  order  to  avoid  rais- 
ing the  herd.  We,  therefore,  unsaddled  our  horses,  and  sat  down  on 
the  bank  to  view  the  scene,  and  our  new  acquaintances  rode  a  few 
hundred  yards  lower  down,  and  began  crossing  the  river.  Scores  of 
wild  looking  dogs  followed,  looking  like  troops  of  wolves,  and  hav- 
ing, in  fact,  but  very  little  of  the  dog  in  their  composition.  Some  of 
them  remained  with  us,  and  I  checked  one  of  the  men,  whom  I 
found  aiming  at  one,  which  he  was  about  to  kill  for  a  wolf.  The  day 
had  become  very  hot.  The  air  was  clear,  with  a  very  slight  breeze,  and 
now,  at  twelve  o'clock,  while  the  barometer  stood  at  25.920,  the  at- 
tached thermometer  was  at  108°.  Our  Cheyennes  had  learned  that 
with  the  Arapaho  village,  were  about  twenty  lodges  of  their  own,  in- 
cluding their  own  families;  they,  therefore,  immediately  commenced 
making  their  toilette.  After  bathing  in  the  river,  they  invested  them- 
selves in  some  handsome  calico  shirts,  which  I  afterward  learned  they 
had  stolen  from  my  own  men,  and  spent  some  time  in  arranging  their 
hair  and  painting  themselves  with  some  vermillion  I  had  given 
them.  While  they  were  engaged  in  this  satisfactory  manner,  one  of 
their  half  wild  horses,  to  which  the  crowd  of  prancing  animals 
which  had  just  passed  had  recalled  the  freedom  of  her  existence 
among  the  wild  droves  on  the  prairie,  suddenly  dashed  into  the  hills 
at  the  top  of  her  speed.  She  was  their  pack  horse,  and  had  on  her 
back  all  the  worldly  wealth  of  our  poor  Cheyennes,  all  their  ac- 
coutrements, and  all  the  little  articles  which  they  had  picked  up 
among  us,  with  some  few  presents  I  had  given  them.  The  loss  which 
they  seemed  to  regret  most  were  their  spears  and  shields,  and  some 
tobacco  which  they  had  received  from  me.  However,  they  bore  it  all 
with  the  philosophy  of  an  Indian,  and  laughingly  continued  their 
toilette.  They  appeared,  however,  a  little  mortified  at  the  thought  of 
returning  to  the  village  in  such  a  sorry  plight.  "Our  people  will 


laugh  at  us,"  said  one  of  them,  "returning  to  the  village  on  foot,  in- 
stead of  driving  back  a  drove  of  Pawnee  horses."  He  demanded  to 
know  if  I  loved  my  sorrel  hunter  very  much,  to  which  I  replied  he 
was  the  object  of  my  most  intense  affection.  Far  from  being  able  to 
give,  I  was  myself  in  want  of  horses,  and  any  suggestion  of  parting 
with  the  few  I  had  valuable,  was  met  with  peremptory  refusal.  In 
the  mean  time  the  slaughter  was  about  to  commence  on  the  other 
side.  So  soon  as  they  reached  it,  the  Indians  separated  into  two 
bodies.  One  party  proceeded  directly  across  the  prairie  toward  the 
hills  in  an  extended  line,  while  the  other  went  up  the  river;  and  in- 
stantly as  they  had  given  the  wind  to  the  herd,  the  chase  commenced. 
The  buffalo  started  for  the  hills,  but  were  intercepted  and  driven 
back  toward  the  river,  broken  and  running  in  every  direction.  The 
clouds  of  dust  soon  covered  the  whole  scene,  preventing  us  from  hav- 
ing any  but  an  occasional  view.  It  had  a  very  singular  appearance  to 
us  at  a  distance,  especially  when  looking  with  the  glass.  We  were  too 
far  to  hear  the  report  of  the  guns,  or  any  sound,  and  at  every  instant, 
through  the  clouds  of  dust  which  the  sun  made  luminous,  we  could 
see  for  a  moment  two  or  three  buffalo  dashing  along,  and  close  be- 
hind them  an  Indian  with  his  long  spear,  or  other  weapon,  and 
instantly  again  they  disappeared.  The  apparent  silence,  and  the 
dimly  seen  figures  flitting  by  with  such  rapidity,  gave  it  a  kind  of 
dreamy  effect,  and  seemed  more  like  a  picture  than  a  scene  of  real 
life.  It  had  been  a  large  herd  when  the  cevfie  commenced,  probably 
three  or  four  hundred  in  number;  but,  though  I  watched  them 
closely,  I  did  not  see  one  emerge  from  the  fatal  cloud  where  the 
work  of  destruction  was  going  on.  After  remaining  here  about  an 
hour,  we  resumed  our  journey  in  the  direction  of  the  village. 

Gradually,  as  we  rode  on,  Indian  after  Indian  came  dropping 
along,  laden  with  meat;  and  by  the  time  we  had  neared  the  lodges, 
the  backward  road  was  covered  with  the  returning  horsemen.  It  was 
a  pleasant  contrast  with  the  desert  road  we  had  been  travelling.  Sev- 
eral had  joined  company  with  us,  and  one  of  the  chiefs  invited  us  to 
his  lodge.  The  village  consisted  of  about  one  hundred  and  twenty- 
five  lodges,  of  which  twenty  were  Cheyennes;  the  latter  pitched  a 
little  apart  from  the  Arapahoes.  They  were  disposed  in  a  scattering 
manner  on  both  sides  of  a  broad  irregular  street,  about  one  hundred 
and  fifty  feet  wide,  and  running  along  the  river.  As  we  rode  along, 
I  remarked  near  some  of  the  lodges  a  kind  of  tripod  frame,  formed  of 


three  slender  poles  of  birch,  scraped  very  clean,  to  which  were  affixed 
the  shield  and  spear,  with  some  other  weapons  of  a  chief.  All  were 
scrupulously  clean,  the  spear  head  was  burnished  bright,  and  the 
shield  white  and  stainless.  It  reminded  me  of  the  days  of  feudal 
chivalry;  and  when  as  I  rode  by  I  yielded  to  the  passing  impulse, 
and  touched  some  of  the  spotless  shields  with  the  muzzle  of  my 
gun,  I  almost  expected  a  grim  warrior  to  start  from  the  lodge  and 
resent  my  challenge.  The  master  of  the  lodge  spread  out  a  robe  for 
me  to  sit  upon,  and  the  squaws  set  before  us  a  large  wooden  dish  of 
buffalo  meat.  He  had  lit  his  pipe  in  the  meanwhile,  and  when  it  had 
been  passed  around,  we  commenced  our  dinner  while  he  continued 
to  smoke.  Gradually,  five  or  six  other  chiefs  came  in,  and  took  their 
seats  in  silence.  When  we  had  finished,  our  host  asked  a  number  of 
questions  relative  to  the  object  of  our  journey,  of  which  I  made  no 
concealment;  telling  him  simply  that  I  had  made  a  visit  to  see  the 
country,  preparatory  to  the  establishment  of  military  posts  on  the 
way  to  the  mountains.  Although  this  was  information  of  the  highest 
interest  to  them,  and  by  no  means  calculated  to  please  them,  it  ex- 
cited no  expression  of  surprise,  and  in  no  way  altered  the  grave 
courtesy  of  their  demeanor.  The  others  listened  and  smoked.  I  re- 
marked, that  in  taking  the  pipe  for  the  first  time,  each  had  turned 
the  stem  upward,  with  a  rapid  glance,  as  in  offering  to  the  Great 
Spirit,  before  he  put  it  in  his  mouth.  A  storm  had  been  gathering 
for  the  past  hour,  and  some  pattering  drops  on  the  lodge  warned  us 
that  we  had  some  miles  to  our  camp.  Some  Indian  had  given  Max- 
well a  bundle  of  dried  meat,  which  was  very  acceptable,  as  we  had 
nothing,  and,  springing  upon  our  horses,  we  rode  off  at  dusk  in  the 
face  of  a  cold  shower  and  driving  wind.  We  found  our  companions 
under  some  densely  foliaged  old  trees,  about  three  miles  up  the 
river.  Under  one  of  them  lay  the  trunk  of  a  large  cottonwood,  to 
leeward  of  which  the  man  had  kindled  a  fire,  and  we  sat  here  and 
roasted  our  meat  in  tolerable  shelter.  Nearly  opposite  was  the  mouth 
of  one  of  the  most  considerable  affluents  of  the  South  fork,  la 
Fourche  aux  Castors  (Beaver  fork)/'  heading  off  in  the  ridge  to 
the  southeast. 

]uly  9. — This  morning  we  caught  the  first  faint  glimpse  of  the 
Rocky  Mountains,  about  sixty  miles  distant.  Though  a  tolerably 

17.  Beaver  Creek,  entering  from  the  south  near  Brush,  Colo. 


bright  day,  there  was  a  sHght  mist,  and  we  were  just  able  to  discern 
the  snowy  summit  of  "Long's  peak,"  {"les  deux  oreilles"  of  the 
Canadians,)  showing  like  a  small  cloud  near  the  horizon.  I  found 
it  easily  distinguishable,  there  being  a  perceptible  difference  in  its 
appearance  from  the  white  clouds  that  were  floating  about  the  sky. 
I  was  pleased  to  find  that  among  the  traders  and  voyageurs  the 
name  of  "Long's  peak"  had  been  adopted  and  become  familiar  in 
the  country.^^  In  the  ravines  near  this  place,  a  light  brown  sandstone 
made  its  first  appearance.  About  8,  we  discerned  several  persons  on 
horseback  a  mile  or  two  ahead  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  river. 
They  turned  in  towards  the  river,  and  we  rode  down  to  meet  them. 
We  found  them  to  be  two  white  men,  and  a  mulatto  named  Jim 
Beckwith,^^  who  had  left  St.  Louis  when  a  boy,  and  gone  to  live 
with  the  Crow  Indians.  He  had  distinguished  himself  among  them 
by  some  acts  of  daring  bravery,  and  had  risen  to  the  rank  of  a  chief, 
but  had  now,  for  some  years,  left  them.  They  were  in  search  of  a 
band  of  horses  that  had  gone  ofif  from  a  camp  some  miles  above,  in 
charge  of  Mr.  Chabonard.^"  Two  of  them  continued  down  the  river, 
in  search  of  the  horses,  and  the  American  turned  back  with  us,  and 
we  rode  on  towards  the  camp.  About  eight  miles  from  our  sleeping 
place  we  reached  Bijou's  fork  [Bijou  Creek],  an  affluent  of  the  right 
bank.  Where  we  crossed  it,  a  short  distance  from  the  Platte,  it  has  a 
sandy  bed  about  four  hundred  yards  broad;  the  water  in  various 
small  streams,  a  few  inches  deep.  Seven  miles  further  brought  us  to 

18.  Long's  Peak  in  north  central  Colorado  is,  at  14,255  feet,  the  highest 
peak  in  the  Rocky  Mountain  National  Park.  It  is  named  for  Stephen  H.  Long, 
whose  1820  expedition  to  the  Rockies  was  the  second  U.S.  Army  reconnais- 
sance (the  first  was  Zebulon  Pike's  in  1806-7)  of  that  general  region. 

19.  James  P.  Beckwourth  (1798-1866)  lived  among  the  Crows  from  about 
1829  to  1831,  then  traded  among  them  for  the  American  Fur  Company.  He 
operated  on  the  Upper  Missouri  until  28  June  1836,  when  F.  A.  Chardon 
reported  his  departure  from  Fort  Clark  at  the  Mandan  villages.  He  was  trad- 
ing on  the  upper  Arkansas  and  South  Platte  when  JCF  encountered  him. 

20.  Jean  Baptiste  Charbonneau  (1805-66),  son  of  Toussaint  Charbonneau 
and  his  Shoshoni  wife  Sacagawea,  had  accompanied  his  mother  and  father  on 
the  Lewis  and  Clark  expedition  as  a  child,  starting  at  the  Mandan  villages. 
After  the  expedition,  William  Clark  undertook  to  educate  young  Jean  Bap- 
tiste, and  there  are  records  of  Clark's  involvement  as  late  as  1820.  After  a  stay 
in  Europe  (1823-29)  with  Prince  Paul,  Duke  of  Wiirttemburg,  he  returned 
to  the  West  and  became  an  employee  of  various  fur  companies.  In  1843,  he 
would  accompany  Sir  William  Drummond  Stewart  part  way  to  the  Rockies, 
and  in  1846  help  guide  the  Mormon  Battalion  across  New  Mexico  and 
Arizona  (a.  hafen  [1];  anderson,  283-88). 


a  camp  of  some  four  or  five  whites,  New  Englanders,  I  believe, 
who  had  accompanied  Captain  Wyeth^^  to  the  Columbia  river,  and 
were  independent  trappers.  All  had  their  squaws  with  them,  and 
I  was  really  surprised  at  the  number  of  little  fat  buffalo-fed  boys, 
that  were  tumbling  about  the  camp,  all  apparently  of  the  same  age, 
about  three  or  four  years  old.  They  were  encamped  on  a  rich  bot- 
tom, covered  with  a  profusion  of  fine  grass,  and  had  a  large  number 
of  fine-looking  horses  and  mules.  We  rested  with  them  a  few  min- 
utes, and  in  about  two  miles  arrived  at  Chabonard's  camp,  on  an 
island  in  the  Platte.  On  the  heights  above,  we  met  the  first  Spaniard 
I  had  seen  in  the  country.  Mr.  Chabonard  was  in  the  service  of  Bent 
and  St.  Vrain's  company,  and  had  left  their  fort  some  forty  or  fifty 
miles  above,  in  the  spring,  with  boats  laden  with  the  furs  of  the  last 
year's  trade.  He  had  met  the  same  fortune  as  the  voyageurs  on  the 
North  fork,  and  finding  it  impossible  to  proceed,  had  taken  up  his 
summer's  residence  on  this  island,  which  he  had  named  St.  Helena. 
The  river  hills  appeared  to  be  composed  entirely  of  sand,  and  the 
Platte  had  lost  the  muddy  character  of  its  waters,  and  here  was  tol- 
erably clear.  From  the  mouth  of  the  South  fork,  I  had  found  it  oc- 
casionally broken  up  by  small  islands,  and  at  the  time  of  our 
journey,  which  was  at  a  season  of  the  year  when  the  waters  were 
at  a  favorable  stage,  it  was  not  navigable  for  anything  drawing  six 
inches  water.  The  current  was  very  swift — the  bed  of  the  stream  a 
coarse  gravel. 

From  the  place  at  which  we  had  encountered  the  Arapahoes,  the 
Platte  had  been  tolerably  well  fringed  with  timber,  and  the  island 
here  had  a  fine  grove  of  very  large  cottonwoods,  under  whose  broad 
shade  the  tents  were  pitched.  There  was  a  large  drove  of  horses  in 
the  opposite  prairie  bottom;  smoke  was  rising  from  the  scattered 
fires,  and  the  encampment  had  quite  a  patriarchal  air.  Mr.  C.  re- 
ceived us  hospitably.  One  of  the  people  was  sent  to  gather  mint, 
with  the  aid  of  which  he  concocted  very  good  julep;  and  some 
boiled  buffalo  tongue,  and  cofTee  with  the  luxury  of  sugar,  were  soon 
set  before  us.  The  people  in  his  employ  were  generally  Spaniards, 
and  among  them  I  saw  a  young  Spanish  woman  from  Taos,  whom 
I  found  to  be  Beckwith's  wife. 

21.  Capt.  Nathaniel  Jarvis  Wyeth  (1802-56),  the  builder  of  Fort  William 
at  the  mouth  of  the  Willamette  and  Fort  Hall  on  the  Snake  River  in  Idaho, 
had  made  two  overland  journeys  to  Oregon  and  had  done  much  to  publicize 
the  region. 



]uly  10. — We  parted  with  our  hospitable  host  after  breakfast  the 
next  morning,  and  reached  St.  Vrain's  fort,""  about  forty-five  miles 
from  St.  Helena,  late  in  the  evening.  The  post  is  situated  on  the 
South  fork  of  the  Platte,  immediately  under  the  mountains,  about 
seventeen  miles  east  of  Long's  peak.  It  is  on  the  right  bank,  on  the 
verge  of  the  upland  prairie,  about  forty  feet  above  the  river,  of 
which  the  immediate  valley  is  about  six  hundred  yards  wide.  The 
stream  is  divided  into  various  branches  by  small  islands,  among 
which  it  runs  with  a  swift  current.  The  bed  of  the  river  is  sand  and 
gravel,  the  water  very  clear,  and  here  may  be  called  a  mountain 
stream.  This  region  appears  to  be  entirely  free  from  the  limestones 
and  marls  which  give  to  the  lower  Platte  its  yellow  and  dirty  color. 
The  Black  hills""^  lie  between  the  stream  and  the  mountains,  whose 
snowy  peaks  glitter  a  few  miles  beyond.  At  the  fort  we  found  Mr. 
St.  Vrain,"^  who  received  us  with  much  kindness  and  hospitality. 
Maxwell  had  spent  the  last  two  or  three  years  between  this  post 
and  the  village  of  Taos,  and  here  he  was  at  home  and  among  his 
friends.  Spaniards  frequently  came  over  in  search  of  employment, 
and  several  came  in  shortly  after  our  arrival.  They  usually  obtain 
about  six  dollars  a  month,  generally  paid  to  them  in  goods.  They 
are  very  useful  in  a  camp  in  taking  care  of  horses  and  mules,  and  I 
engaged  one,  who  proved  to  be  an  active,  laborious  man,  and  was 
of  very  considerable  service  to  me."^  The  elevation  of  the  Platte  here 
is  5,400  feet  above  the  sea.  The  neighboring  mountains  did  not  ap- 
pear to  enter  far  the  region  of  perpetual  snow,  which  was  generally 
confined  to  the  northern  side  of  the  peaks.  On  the  southern  I  re- 
marked very  little.  Here  it  appeared,  so  far  as  I  could  judge  in  the 

22.  Fort  St.  Vrain,  about  twelve  miles  below  the  mouth  of  St.  Vrain  Creek, 
was  first  called  Fort  Lookout  and  was  also  sometimes  called  Fort  George.  It 
was  probably  completed  after  1837  and  closed  in  1845,  although  Bent,  St. 
Vrain  &  Co.  made  temporary  and  seasonal  use  of  it  for  several  years  (carter 


23.  Dale  L.  Morgan  has  suggested,  and  the  matter  is  worth  further  study, 
that  JCF  conceived  of  this  entire  area  from  Fort  Laramie  south  to  the  Cache 
la  Poudre  as  comprising  a  general  range  of  "Black  Hills."  (There  are  other 
formations  bearing  this  name,  of  course,  such  as  those  in  South  Dakota.)  For 
support  of  Morgan's  suggestion,  see  Map  2  in  the  Portfolio,  showing  such  a 
range  extending  on  as  far  as  the  Red  Buttes. 

24.  Marcellin  St.  Vrain  (1815-71),  younger  brother  of  the  better  known 
Ceran  St.  Vrain,  had  taken  charge  of  the  fort  about  1837  (carter  [2]). 

25.  This  is  the  man  listed  in  the  vouchers  as  Osea  Harmiyo  |  Jose  Armijo], 
who  continued  on  with  the  exploring  party. 


distance,  to  descend  but  a  few  hundred  feet  below  the  summits. 
I  regretted  that  time  did  not  permit  me  to  visit  them;  but  the 
proper  object  of  my  survey  lay  among  the  mountains  further  north; 
and  I  looked  forward  to  an  exploration  of  their  snowy  recesses  with 
great  pleasure.  The  piney  region  of  the  mountains  to  the  south  was 
enveloped  in  smoke,  and  I  was  informed  had  been  on  fire  for  several 
months.  Pike's  peak  is  said  to  be  visible  from  this  place,  about  100 
miles  to  the  southward,  but  the  smoky  state  of  the  atmosphere  pre- 
vented my  seeing  it.  The  weather  continued  overcast  during  my  stay 
here,  so  that  I  failed  in  determining  the  latitude,  but  obtained  good 
observation  for  time  on  the  mornings  of  the  11th  and  12th.  An 
assumed  latitude  of  40°  22'  30"  from  the  evening  position  of  the 
12th,  enabled  me  to  obtain,  for  a  tolerably  correct  longitude,  105° 

45'  ir. 

July  12.— The  kindness  of  Mr.  St.  Vrain  had  enabled  me  to  obtain 
a  couple  of  horses  and  three  good  mules,  and,  with  a  further  addi- 
tion to  our  party  of  the  Spaniard  whom  I  had  hired,  and  two  others, 
who  were  going  to  obtain  service  at  Laramie's  fork,  we  resumed  our 
journey  at  10,  on  the  morning  of  the  12th.  We  had  been  able  to  pro- 
cure nothing  at  the  post  in  the  way  of  provision.  An  expected  supply 
from  Taos  had  not  yet  arrived,  and  a  few  pounds  of  coffee  was  all 
that  could  be  spared  to  us.  In  addition  to  this,  we  had  dried  meat 
enough  for  the  first  day;  on  the  next  we  expected  to  find  bufTalo. 
From  this  post,  according  to  the  estimate  of  the  country,  the  fort 
at  the  mouth  of  Laramie's  fork,  which  was  our  next  point  of  des- 
tination, was  nearly  due  north,  distant  about  one  hundred  and 
twenty-five  miles. 

For  a  short  distance,  our  road  lay  down  the  valley  of  the  Platte; 
which  resembled  a  garden  in  the  splendor  of  fields  of  varied  flowers, 
which  filled  the  air  with  fragrance.  The  only  timber  I  noticed  con- 
sisted of  poplar,  birch  [alder],  cotton  wood,  and  willow.  In  some- 
thing less  than  three  miles,  we  crossed  Thompson's  creek  [Thomp- 
son River],  one  of  the  affluents  to  the  left  bank  of  the  South  fork, 
a  fine  stream  about  sixty-five  feet  wide  and  three  feet  deep.  Journey- 
ing on,  the  low  dark  line  of  the  Black  hills  lying  between  us  and 
the  mountains  to  the  leit,  in  about  ten  miles  from  the  fort,  we 
reached  Cache  a  la  Poudre  [River],  where  we  halted  to  noon.  This 
is  a  very  beautiful  mountain  stream,  about  one  hundred  feet  wide, 
flowing  with  a  full  swift  current  over  a  rocky  bed.  We  halted  under 
the  shade  of  some  cottonwoods,  with  which  the  stream  is  wooded 



scatteringly.  In  the  upper  part  of  its  course,  it  runs  amid  the  wildest 
mountain  scenery,  and  breaking  through  the  Black  Hills  falls  into 
the  Platte  about  ten  miles  below  this  place.  In  the  course  of  our 
late  journey,  I  had  managed  to  become  the  possessor  of  a  very  untrac- 
table  mule,  a  perfect  vixen,  and  her  I  had  turned  over  to  my  Span- 
iard. It  occupied  us  about  half  an  hour  to-day  to  get  the  saddle  upon 
her;  but,  once  on  her  back  Jose  could  not  be  dismounted,  realizing 
the  accounts  given  of  Mexican  horses  and  horsemanship;  and  we 
continued  our  route  in  the  afternoon. 

At  evening,  we  encamped  on  Crow  (?)  creek,  having  travelled 
about  twenty-eight  miles.  None  of  the  party  were  well  acquainted 
with  the  country,  and  I  had  great  difficulty  in  ascertaining  what  were 
the  names  of  the  streams  we  crossed  between  the  North  and  South 
forks  of  the  Platte.  This  I  supposed  to  be  Crow  creek."^  It  is 
what  is  called  a  salt  stream,  and  the  water  stands  in  pools,  having 
no  continuous  course.  A  fine  grained  sandstone  made  its  appearance 
in  the  banks.  The  observations  of  the  night  placed  us  in  a  latitude 
40°  42',  longitude  105°  33'  27".  The  barometer  at  sunset  was  25.231 ; 
attached  thermometer  at  66°.  Sky  clear,  except  in  the  east,  with  a 
light  wind  from  the  north. 

July  13. — There  being  no  wood  here,  we  used  last  night  the  bois 
de  vache,  which  is  very  plentiful.  At  our  camp  this  morning,  the 
barometer  was  at  25.235,  the  attached  thermometer  60°.  A  few 
clouds  were  moving  through  a  deep  blue  sky,  with  a  light  wind 
from  the  west.  After  a  ride  of  twelve  miles,  in  a  northerly  direction, 
over  a  plain  covered  with  innumerable  quantities  of  cacti,  we 
reached  a  small  creek  in  which  there  was  water,  and  where  several 
herds  of  buffalo  were  scattered  about  among  the  ravines,  which 
always  afford  good  pasturage.  We  seem  now  to  be  passing  along 
the  base  of  a  plateau  of  the  Black  hills,  in  which  the  formation  con- 
sists of  marls,  some  of  them  white  and  laminated,  the  country  to  the 
left  rising  suddenly,  and  falling  off  gradually  and  uniformly  to  the 
right.  In  five  or  six  miles  of  a  northeasterly  course,  we  struck  a  high 

26.  Not  likely.  To  reach  Crow  Creek  in  one  day,  by  the  route  they  are 
taking,  they  must  travel  to  the  latitude  of  Cheyenne,  Wyo. — an  impossible 
distance.  JCF's  own  reading  of  latitude  is  of  no  help,  putting  him  in  the 
neighborhood  of  Thompson  River.  Until  he  strikes  the  North  Platte,  we  shall 
have  no  clear  indication  of  his  location.  He  is  traveling  north  by  northeast, 
across  Crow,  Lodgepole,  and  Horse  creeks,  and  through  the  Goshen  Hole 
country  of  Goshen  County,  Wyo. 


ridge,  broken  into  conical  peaks,  on  whose  summits  large  boulders 
were  gathered  in  heaps.  The  magnetic  direction  of  the  ridge  is 
northwest  and  southeast,  the  glittering  white  of  its  precipitous  sides 
making  it  visible  for  many  miles  to  the  south.  It  is  composed  of  a 
soft  earthy  limestone,  and  marls  resembling  that  hereafter  described, 
in  the  neighborhood  of  the  Chimney  Rock,  on  the  North  fork  of 
the  Platte,  easily  worked  by  the  winds  and  rains,  and  sometimes 
moulded  into  very  fantastic  shapes.  At  the  foot  of  the  northern  slope 
was  the  bed  of  a  creek  some  forty  feet  wide,  coming  by  frequent 
falls  from  the  bench  above.  It  was  shut  in  by  high  perpendicular 
banks,  in  which  were  strata  of  white  laminated  marl.  Its  bed  was 
perfectly  dry,  and  the  leading  feature  of  the  whole  region  is  one  of 
remarkable  aridity,  and  perfect  freedom  from  moisture.  In  about 
six  miles  we  crossed  the  bed  of  another  dry  creek;  and  continuing 
our  ride  over  a  high  level  prairie,  a  little  before  sundown  we  came 
suddenly  upon  a  beautiful  creek,  which  revived  us  with  a  feeling  of 
delighted  surprise  by  the  pleasant  contrast  of  the  deep  verdure  of  its 
banks,  with  the  parched  desert  we  had  passed.  We  had  suffered 
much  to-day,  both  men  and  horses,  for  want  of  water;  having  met 
with  it  but  once  in  our  uninterrupted  march  of  forty  miles,  and  an 
exclusive  meat  diet  creates  much  thirst. 

"Las  bestias  tiene?i  mucha  hambre,"  said  the  young  Spaniard,  in- 
quiringly; "y  la  gente  tambien,"  said  I,  "amigo,  we'll  camp  here." 
A  stream  of  good  and  clear  water  ran  winding  about  through  the 
little  valley,  and  a  herd  of  buffalo  were  quietly  feeding  a  little  dis- 
tance below.  It  was  quite  a  hunter's  paradise;  and  while  some  ran 
down  toward  the  band  to  kill  one  for  supper,  others  collected  bois 
de  vache  for  a  fire,  there  being  no  wood ;  and  I  amused  myself  with 
hunting  for  plants  among  the  grass. 

It  will  be  seen,  by  occasional  remarks  on  the  geological  forma- 
tion, that  the  constituents  of  the  soil  in  these  regions  are  good,  and 
every  day  served  to  strengthen  the  impression  in  my  mind,  con- 
firmed by  subsequent  observation,  that  the  barren  appearance  of  the 
country,  is  due  almost  entirely  to  the  extreme  dryness  of  the  climate. 
Along  our  route,  the  country  had  seemed  to  increase  constantly  in 
elevation.  According  to  the  indication  of  the  barometer,  we  were 
at  our  encampment,  5,440  feet  above  the  sea. 

The  evening  was  very  clear,  with  a  fresh  breeze  from  the  south, 
50°  east.  The  barometer  at  sunset  was  24.862,  the  thermometer  at- 
tached showing  68°.  I  supposed  this  to  be  a  fork  of  Lodge  Pole 


creek,  so  far  as  I  could  determine  from  our  uncertain  means  of  in- 
formation. Astronomical  observations  gave  for  the  camp  a  longitude 
of  105°  13' 38",  and  latitude  41°  08' 31". 

July  14. — The  wind  continued  fresh  from  the  same  quarter  in  the 
morning,  the  day  being  clear  vi^ith  the  exception  of  a  few  clouds  in 
the  horizon.  At  our  camp  at  six  o'clock,  the  height  of  the  barometer 
was  24.830,  the  attached  thermometer  61°.  Our  course  this  morning 
was  directly  north,  by  compass,  the  variation  being  15°  or  16°  east- 
erly. A  ride  of  four  miles  brought  us  to  Lodge  Pole  creek,  which  we 
had  seen  at  its  mouth  on  the  South  fork;  crossing  on  the  way  two 
dry  streams,  in  eighteen  miles  from  our  encampment  of  the  past 
night,  we  reached  a  high  bleak  ridge,  composed  entirely  of  the  same 
earthy  limestone  and  marl  previously  described.  I  had  never  seen 
anything  which  impressed  so  strongly  on  my  mind  a  feeling  of 
desolation.  The  valley  through  which  ran  the  waters  of  Horse  creek, 
lay  in  view  to  the  north,  but  too  far  to  have  any  influence  on  the  im- 
mediate view.  On  the  peak  of  the  ridge  where  I  was  standing,  some 
six  or  seven  hundred  feet  above  the  river,  the  wind  was  high  and 
bleak ;  the  barren  and  arid  country  seemed  as  if  it  had  been  swept  by 
fires,  and  in  every  direction  the  same  dull  ash-colored  hue,  derived 
from  the  formation,  met  the  eye.  On  the  summits  were  some  stunted 
pines,  many  of  them  dead,  all  wearing  the  same  ashen  hue  of  desola- 
tion.^^ We  left  the  place  with  pleasure;  and  after  we  had  descended 
several  hundred  feet,  halted  in  one  of  the  ravines,  which,  at  the  dis- 
tance of  every  mile  or  two,  cut  the  flanks  of  the  ridge  with  little 
rushing  streams,  wearing  something  of  a  mountain  character.  We 
had  already  begun  to  exchange  the  comparatively  barren  lands  for 
those  of  a  more  fertile  character.  Though  the  sandstone  formed  the 
broken  banks  of  the  creek,  yet  they  were  covered  with  a  thin  grass; 
and  the  fifty  or  sixty  feet  which  formed  the  bottom  land  of  the  little 
stream,  was  clothed  with  very  luxuriant  grass,  among  which  I  re- 
marked willow  and  cherry,  {cerasus  virginiana;)  and  a  quantity  of 
gooseberry  and  currant  bushes  occupied  the  greater  part. 

The  creek  was  three  or  four  feet  broad,  and  about  six  inches  deep, 
with  a  swift  current  of  clear  water,  and  tolerably  cool.  We  had 

27.  Deleted  from  the  manuscript  draft  at  this  point:  "It  gave  a  body  to  the 
foetid  creations  of  the  internal  Regions,  &  the  poet's  words  come  strongly  to 
my  mind." 


struck  it  too  low  down  to  find  the  cold  water,  which  we  should  have 
enjoyed  nearer  to  its  sources.  At  2  P.  M.,  the  barometer  was  at  25.050, 
the  attached  thermometer  104°.  A  day  of  hot  sunshine,  with  clouds, 
and  a  moderate  breeze  from  the  south.  Continuing  down  the  stream, 
in  about  four  miles  we  reached  its  mouth,  at  one  of  the  main 
branches  of  Horse  creek.  Looking  back  upon  the  ridge,  whose  direc- 
tion appeared  to  be  a  little  to  the  north  of  east,  we  saw  it  seamed  at 
frequent  intervals  with  the  dark  lines  of  wooded  streams,  affluents 
of  the  river  that  flowed  so  far  as  we  could  see  along  its  base.  We 
crossed,  in  the  space  of  twelve  miles  from  our  noon  halt,  three  or 
four  forks  of  Horse  creek,  and  encamped  at  sunset  on  the  most 

The  fork  on  which  we  encamped  appeared  to  have  followed  an 
easterly  direction  up  to  this  place;  but  here  it  makes  a  very  sudden 
bend  to  the  north,  passing  between  two  ranges  of  precipitous  hills, 
called,  as  I  was  informed,  Goshen's  hole.  There  is  somewhere  in  or 
near  this  locality  a  place  so  called,  but  I  am  not  certain  that  it  was 
the  place  of  our  encampment.  Looking  back  upon  the  spot,  at  the 
distance  of  a  few  miles  to  the  northward,  the  hills  appear  to  shut  in 
the  prairie,  through  which  runs  the  creek,  with  a  semi-circular 
sweep,  which  might  very  naturally  be  called  a  hole  in  the  hills.  The 
geological  composition  of  the  ridge  is  the  same  which  constitutes  the 
rock  of  the  Court-house  and  Chimney  on  the  North  fork,  which 
appeared  to  me  a  continuation  of  this  ridge.  The  winds  and  rains 
work  this  formation  into  a  variety  of  singular  forms.  The  pass  into 
Goshen's  hole  is  about  two  miles  wide,  and  the  hill  on  the  western 
side  imitates,  in  an  extraordinary  manner,  a  massive  fortified  place, 
with  a  remarkable  fulness  of  detail.  The  rock  is  marl  and  earthy 
limestone,  white,  without  the  least  appearance  of  vegetation,  and 
much  resembles  masonry  at  a  little  distance;  and  here  it  sweeps 
around  a  level  area  two  or  three  hundred  yards  in  diameter,  and  in 
the  form  of  a  half  moon,  terminating  on  either  extremity  in  enor- 
mous bastions.  Along  the  whole  line  of  the  parapets  appear  domes 
and  slender  minarets,  forty  or  fifty  feet  high,  giving  it  every  appear- 
ance of  an  old  fortified  town.  On  the  waters  of  White  river,  where 
this  formation  exists  in  great  extent,  it  presents  appearances  which 
excite  the  admiration  of  the  solitary  voyageur,  and  form  a  frequent 
theme  of  their  conversation  when  speaking  of  the  wonders  of  the 
country.  Sometimes  it  offers  the  perfectly  illusive  appearances  of  a 



large  city,  with  numerous  streets  and  magnificent  buildings,  among 
which  the  Canadians  never  fail  to  see  their  cabaret;  and  sometimes 
it  takes  the  form  of  a  solitary  house,  with  many  large  chambers,  into 
which  they  drive  their  horses  at  night,  and  sleep  in  these  natural 
defences  perfectly  secure  from  any  attack  of  prowling  savages.  Be- 
fore reaching  our  camp  at  Goshen's  hole,  in  crossing  the  immense 
detritus  at  the  foot  of  the  Castle  rock,  we  were  involved  amidst 
winding  passages  cut  by  the  waters  of  the  hill;  and  where,  with  a 
breadth  scarcely  large  enough  for  the  passage  of  a  horse,  the  walls 
rise  thirty  and  forty  feet  perpendicularly.  This  formation  supplies 
the  discoloration  of  the  Platte.  At  sunset,  the  height  of  the  mercurial 
column  was  25.500,  the  attached  thermometer  80°,  and  wind  mod- 
erate from  S.  38°  E.  Clouds  covered  the  sky  with  the  rise  of  the 
moon,  but  I  succeeded  in  obtaining  the  usual  astronomical  observa- 
tions, which  placed  us  in  latitude  41°  40' 13'',  and  longitude  104° 
59'  23". 

]uly  15. — At  6  this  morning,  the  barometer  was  at  25.515,  the 
thermometer  72°,  the  day  was  fine,  with  some  clouds  looking  dark 
on  the  south,  with  a  fresh  breeze  from  the  same  quarter.  We  found 
that  in  our  journey  across  the  country  we  had  kept  too  much  to  the 
eastward.  This  morning  accordingly  we  travelled  by  compass  some 
15  or  20°  to  the  west  of  north,  and  struck  the  Platte  some  thirteen 
miles  below  Fort  Laramie.  The  day  was  extremely  hot,  and  among 
the  hills  the  wind  seemed  to  have  just  issued  from  an  oven.  Our 
horses  were  much  distressed,  as  we  had  travelled  hard,  and  it  was 
with  some  difficulty  that  they  were  all  brought  to  the  Platte;  which 
we  reached  at  1  o'clock.  In  riding  in  towards  the  river,  we  found  the 
trail  of  our  carts,  which  appeared  to  have  passed  a  day  or  two  since. 

After  having  allowed  our  animals  two  hours  for  food  and  repose, 
we  resumed  our  journey,  and  towards  the  close  of  the  day  came  in 
sight  of  Laramie's  fork.  Issuing  from  the  river  hills,  we  came  first 
in  view  of  Fort  Platte,"^  a  post  belonging  to  Messrs.  Sybille,  Adams  & 
Co.,  situated  immediately  in  the  point  of  land  at  the  junction  of 
Laramie  with  the  Platte.  Like  the  post  we  had  visited  on  the  South 
fork,  it  was  built  of  earth,  and  still  unfinished,  being  enclosed  with 
walls,  or  rather  houses,  on  three  of  the  sides,  and  open  on  the  fourth 
to  the  river.  A  few  hundred  yards  brought  us  in  view  of  the  post 

28.  Fort  Platte,  at  the  confluence  of  the  Laramie  and  the  North  Platte,  was 
built  in  1841  by  Lancaster  P.  Lupton,  sold  in  the  spring  of  1842  to  Sibille  & 
Adams,  and  abandoned  in  1845. 



of  the  American  Fur  Company,  called  Fort  John,  or  Laramie. 
This  was  a  large  post,  having  more  the  air  of  military  construction 
than  the  fort  at  the  mouth  of  the  river.  It  is  on  the  left  bank,  on 
a  rising  ground  some  twenty-five  feet  above  the  water;  and  its 
lofty  walls,  whitewashed  and  picketed,  with  the  large  bastions  at  the 
angles,  gave  it  quite  an  imposing  appearance  in  the  uncertain  light 
of  evening.  A  cluster  of  lodges,  which  the  language  told  us  belonged 
to  Sioux  Indians,  was  pitched  under  the  walls,  and,  with  the  fine 
back  ground  of  the  Black  Hills  and  the  prominent  peak  of  Laramie 
mountain,  strongly  drawn  in  the  clear  light  of  the  western  sky, 
where  the  sun  had  already  set,  the  whole  formed  at  the  moment 
a  strikingly  beautiful  picture.  From  the  company  at  St.  Louis  I  had 
letters  for  Mr.  Boudeau,^"  the  gentleman  in  charge  of  the  post,  by 
whom  I  was  received  with  great  hospitality  and  an  efficient  kindness, 
which  was  invaluable  to  me  during  my  stay  in  the  country.  I  found 
our  people  encamped  on  the  bank,  a  short  distance  above  the  fort. 
All  were  well,  and  in  the  enjoyment  of  a  bountiful  supper,  which 
cofiFee  and  bread  made  luxurious  to  us,  we  soon  forgot  the  fatigues 
of  the  last  ten  days. 

July  16. — I  found  that,  during  my  absence,  the  situation  of  affairs 
had  undergone  some  change;  and  the  usual  quiet  and  somewhat 
monotonous  regularity  of  the  camp  had  given  place  to  excitement 
and  alarm.  The  circumstances  which  occasioned  this  change  will  be 
found  narrated  in  the  following  extract  from  the  journal  of  Mr. 

29.  William  Marshall  Anderson  provides  an  eye-witness  account  of  the 
establishment  of  Fort  Laramie's  predecessor,  Fort  William.  It  was  founded  in 
1834  by  William  L.  Sublette  (of  Sublette  &  Campbell)  and  was  named  both 
for  Sublette  and  his  guest,  Anderson.  The  fort  was  known  for  a  while  as  Fort 
Lucien  after  its  sale  in  1835  to  [Lucien]  Fontenelle,  Fitzpatrick  &  Co.,  but 
the  name  Fort  William  hung  on.  After  the  American  Fur  Company  took  over 
the  interests  of  the  owners,  it  was  rebuilt  as  an  adobe  structure  and  renamed 
Fort  John.  It  probably  was  rebuilt  on  the  same  site,  though  this  has  not  yet 
been  determined  archeologically.  As  JCF  indicates,  the  name  Laramie  was  also 
in  use,  and  when  the  Army  purchased  the  structure  in  1849  it  officially  became 
Fort  Laramie.  There  are  many  accounts  of  the  post  and  its  history,  including 
JCF's  description,  p.  218.  For  William  Marshall  Anderson's  account  of  its 
founding  as  Fort  William,  see  anderson,  35  and  passim. 

30.  James  Bordeaux  (1814-78),  fur  trader  and  interpreter,  had  come  to 
the  Platte  region  from  Fort  Pierre  where  he  had  worked  for  the  American 
Fur  Company.  He  served  more  than  once  as  bourgeois  at  Fort  Laramie,  and 
operated  a  number  of  trading  posts  in  the  area  (trenholm;  j.  d.  mc  dermott 



Preuss,  which  commences  with  the  day  of  our  separation  on  the 
South  fork  of  the  Platte. 


Extract  from  the  Journal  of  Mr.  Preuss^ 

"July  6. — We  crossed  the  plateau  or  highland  between  the  two 
forks  in  about  six  hours.  I  let  my  horse  go  slow  as  he  liked,  to  in- 
demnify us  both  for  the  previous  hardship;  and  about  noon  we 
reached  the  North  fork.  There  was  no  sign  that  our  party  had 
passed ;  we  rode,  therefore,  to  some  pine  trees,  unsaddled  the  horses, 
and  stretched  our  limbs  on  the  grass,  awaiting  the  arrival  of  our 
company.  After  remaining  here  two  hours,  my  companion  [Ber- 
nier]  became  impatient,  mounted  his  horse  again,  and  rode  off  down 
the  river  to  see  if  he  could  discover  our  people.  I  felt  so  marode 
[sic]  yet,  that  it  was  a  horrible  idea  to  me  to  bestride  that  saddle 
again,  so  I  lay  still.  I  knew  they  could  not  come  any  other  way,  and 
then  my  companion,  one  of  the  best  men  of  the  company,  would  not 
abandon  me.  The  sun  went  down;  he  did  not  come;  uneasy  I  did 
not  feel,  but  very  hungry;  I  had  no  provisions,  but  I  could  make  a 
fire;  and  as  I  espied  two  doves  in  a  tree,  I  tried  to  kill  one;  but  it 
needs  a  better  marksman  than  myself  to  kill  a  little  bird  with  a 
rifle.  I  made  a  large  fire,  however,  lighted  my  pipe — this  true  friend 
of  mine  in  every  emergency — laid  down,  and  let  my  thoughts  wan- 
der to  the  far  East.  It  was  not  many  minutes  after  when  I  heard  the 
tramp  of  a  horse,  and  my  faithful  companion  was  by  my  side.  He 
had  found  the  party,  who  had  been  delayed  by  making  their  cache, 
about  seven  miles  below.  To  the  good  supper  which  he  brought  with 
him  I  did  ample  justice.  He  had  forgotten  salt,  and  I  tried  the  sol- 
dier's substitute  in  time  of  war,  and  used  gunpowder;  but  it  answered 
badly — bitter  enough,  but  no  flavor  of  kitchen  salt,^^  I  slept  well; 

31.  Preuss  apparently  produced  two  accounts,  at  least  for  this  period.  His 
principal  journal  covering  all  his  travels  with  JCF,  the  original  manuscript 
of  which  is  in  DLC  and  available  in  translation  (preuss),  is  quite  different 
for  his  journey  to  Fort  Laramie.  His  editors  conjecture  that  Preuss  simply 
gave  JCF  the  information  to  cover  his  trip,  and  that  JCF  wrote  the  "abstract" 
to  harmonize  with  the  rest  of  his  report.  This  is  quite  probably  true. 

32.  In  his  "other"  account,  Preuss  is  in  his  usual  dour  and  ungrateful  mood: 
"After  we  had  walked  back  to  the  cedar  tree,  he  exhibited  his  wares:  meat, 
tongue,  bread,  and  the  remainder  of  Fremont's  Fourth  of  July  keg.  What  a 
joy,  what  a  delight!  Yet  a  person  is  never  satisfied.  When  I  was  eating  I 
thought  that  those  people  could  have  sent  along  a  little  salt  if  they  had  had 
anything  of  a  cultured  taste"  (preuss,  20). 


and  was  only  disturbed  by  two  owls,  which  were  attracted  by  the 
fire,  and  took  their  place  in  the  tree  under  which  we  slept.  Their 
music  seemed  as  disagreeable  to  my  companion  as  to  myself;  he 
fired  his  rifle  twice,  and  then  they  let  us  alone. 

"]uly  7. — At  about  10  o'clock,  the  party  arrived;  and  we  contin- 
ued our  journey  through  a  country  which  offered  but  little  to  in- 
terest the  traveller.  The  soil  was  much  more  sandy  than  in  the  valley 
below  the  confluence  of  the  forks,  and  the  face  of  the  country  no 
longer  presented  the  refreshing  green  which  had  hitherto  character- 
ized it.  The  rich  grass  was  now  found  only  in  dispersed  spots,  on 
low  grounds,  and  on  the  bottom  land  of  the  streams.  A  long 
drought,  joined  to  extreme  heat,  had  so  parched  up  the  upper 
prairies,  that  they  were  in  many  places  bald,  or  covered  only  with 
a  thin  growth  of  yellow  and  poor  grass.  The  nature  of  the  soil  ren- 
ders it  extremely  susceptible  to  the  vicissitudes  of  the  climate.  Be- 
tween the  forks,  and  from  their  junction  to  the  Black  Hills,  the 
formation  consists  of  marl  and  a  soft  earthy  limestone,  with  granitic 
sandstone.  Such  a  formation  cannot  give  rise  to  a  sterile  soil;  and  on 
our  return  in  September,  when  the  country  had  been  watered  by 
frequent  rains,  the  valley  of  the  Platte  looked  like  a  garden;  so  rich 
was  the  verdure  of  the  grasses,  and  so  luxuriant  the  bloom  of  abun- 
dant flowers.  The  wild  sage  begins  to  make  its  appearance,  and 
timber  is  so  scarce  that  we  generally  made  our  fires  of  the  bois  de 
vache.  With  the  exception  of  now  and  then  an  isolated  tree  or  two, 
standing  like  a  light-house  on  the  river  bank,  there  is  none  what- 
ever to  be  seen.^^ 

"]uly  8. — Our  road  to-day  was  a  solitary  one.  No  game  made  its 
appearance,  not  even  a  bufiFalo  or  a  stray  antelope;  and  nothing  oc- 
curred to  break  the  monotony  until  about  5  o'clock,  when  the  cara- 
van made  a  sudden  halt.  There  was  a  galloping  in  of  scouts  and 
horsemen  from  every  side — a  hurrying  to  and  fro  in  noisy  con- 
fusion; rifles  were  taken  from  their  cover;  bullet  pouches  examined: 
in  short,  there  was  the  cry  of  "Indians,"  heard  again.  I  had  become 
so  much  accustomed  to  these  alarms,  that  now  they  made  but  little 
impression  on  me;  and,  before  I  had  time  to  become  excited,  the 
new  comers  were  ascertained  to  be  whites.  It  was  a  large  party 
of  traders  and  trappers,  conducted  by  Mr.  Bridger,  a   man   well 

33.  The  entry  for  this  day  in  his  published  diary  reads  only:  "Nothing  new 
under  this  sun"  (preuss,  20). 


known  in  the  history  of  the  country.^*  As  the  sun  was  low,  and  there 
was  a  fine  grass  patch  not  far  ahead,  they  turned  back  and  encamped 
for  the  night  with  us,  Mr.  Bridger  was  invited  to  supper;  and,  after 
the  table  cloth  was  removed,  we  listened  with  eager  interest  to  an 
account  of  their  adventures.  What  they  had  met,  we  would  be  likely 
to  encounter;  the  chances  which  had  befallen  them,  would  prob- 
ably happen  to  us;  and  we  looked  upon  their  life  as  a  picture  of 
our  own.  He  informed  us  that  the  condition  of  the  country  had  be- 
come exceedingly  dangerous.  The  Sioux,  who  had  been  badly  dis- 
posed, had  broken  out  into  open  hostility,  and  in  the  preceding 
autumn  his  party  had  encountered  them  in  a  severe  engagement, 
in  which  a  number  of  lives  had  been  lost  on  both  sides.  United  with 
the  Cheyenne  and  Gros  Ventre  Indians,  they  were  scouring  the  up- 
per country  in  war  parties  of  great  force,  and  were  at  this  time  in 
the  neighborhood  of  the  Red  Buttes,  a  famous  landmark,  which  was 
directly  on  our  path.  They  had  declared  war  upon  every  liv- 
ing thing  which  should  be  found  westward  of  that  point;  though 
their  main  object  was  to  attack  a  large  camp  of  whites  and  Snake 
Indians,  who  had  a  rendezvous  in  the  Sweet  Water  valley.  Availing 
himself  of  his  intimate  knowledge  of  the  country,  he  had  reached 
Laramie  by  an  unusual  route  through  the  Black  Hills,  and  avoided 
coming  into  contact  with  any  of  the  scattered  parties.  This  gentleman 
offered  his  services  to  accompany  us  so  far  as  the  head  of  the  Sweet 
Water;  but  the  absence  of  our  leader,  which  was  deeply  re- 
gretted by  us  all,^''  rendered  it  impossible  for  us  to  enter  upon  such 
an  arrangement.  In  a  camp  consisting  of  men  whose  lives  had  been 
spent  in  this  country,  I  expected  to  find  every  one  prepared  for  oc- 
currences of  this  nature;  but,  to  my  great  surprise,  I  found,  on  the 
contrary,  that  this  news  had  thrown  them  all  into  the  greatest  con- 
sternation, and,  on  every  side,  I  heard  only  one  exclamation,  "II  ny 
aura  pas  de  vie  pour  nous."  All  the  night  scattered  groups  were  as- 
sembled around  the  fires,  smoking  their  pipes,  and  listening  with 
the  greatest  eagerness  to  exaggerated  details  of  Indian  hostilities; 

34.  Jim  Bridger  (1804-81),  the  famous  frontiersman  and  scout  who  had 
been  connected  with  northwestern  fur  companies  since  1822,  would  in  the 
course  of  the  next  year  establish  a  way-station  in  southwestern  Wyoming.  For 
a  biography,  see  alter. 

35.  These  can  hardly  be  Preuss'  own  words.  His  published  diary  says: 
"I  feel  better  because  of  Fremont's  absence"  (preuss,  21). 


and  in  the  morning  I  found  the  camp  dispirited,  and  agitated  by  a 
variety  of  conflicting  opinions.  A  majority  of  the  people  were  strongly 
disposed  to  return  ;^^  but  Clement  Lambert,  with  some  five  or  six 
others,  professed  their  determination  to  follow  Mr.  Fremont  to  the 
uttermost  limit  of  his  journey.  The  others  yielded  to  their  remon- 
strances; and,  somewhat  ashamed  of  their  cowardice,  concluded  to 
advance  at  least  so  far  as  Laramie  fork,  eastward  of  which  they  were 
aware  no  danger  was  to  be  apprehended.  Notwithstanding  the  con- 
fusion and  excitement,  we  were  very  early  on  the  road,  as  the  days 
were  extremely  hot,  and  we  were  anxious  to  profit  by  the  freshness 
of  the  morning.  The  soft  marly  formation,  over  which  we  were  now 
journeying  frequently  offers  to  the  traveller  views  of  remarkable 
and  picturesque  beauty.  To  several  of  these  localities  where  the 
winds  and  the  rain  have  worked  the  bluffs  into  curious  shapes,  the 
voyageurs  have  given  names  according  to  some  fancied  resemblance. 
One  of  these,  called  the  Courthouse,  we  passed  about  six  miles  from 
our  encampment  of  last  night,  and  toward  noon  came  in  sight  of 
the  celebrated  Chimney  RochJ'  It  looks,  at  this  distance  of  about 
thirty  miles,  like  what  it  is  called,  the  long  chimney  of  a  steam-fac- 
tory establishment,  or  a  shot-tower  in  Baltimore.  Nothing  occurred 
to  interrupt  the  quiet  of  the  day;  and  we  encamped  on  the  river, 
after  a  march  of  twenty-four  miles.  Buffalo  had  become  very 
scarce,  and  but  one  cow  had  been  killed,  of  which  the  meat  had  been 
cut  into  thin  slices,  and  hung  around  the  carts  to  dry. 

"]uly  10. — We  continued  along  the  same  fine,  plainly  beaten  road, 
which  the  smooth  surface  of  the  country  afforded  us  for  a  distance 
of  six  hundred  and  thirty  miles,  from  the  frontiers  of  Missouri  to 

36.  And  so  was  Preuss,  who  says  in  his  pubhshed  diary:  "It  would  be 
ridiculous  to  risk  the  lives  of  twenty-five  people  just  to  determine  a  few 
longitudes  and  latitudes  and  to  find  out  the  elevation  of  a  mountain  range" 
(pREuss,  21-22). 

37.  Courthouse  Rock  and  Chimney  Rock,  both  famous  landmarks  on  the 
trail  along  the  south  bank  of  the  North  Platte,  in  Morrill  County,  Nebr.,  bear 
some  relevance  to  the  JCF  expedition.  A  study  of  trail  landmarks  by  Dale  L. 
Morgan  indicates  that  the  name  of  Courthouse  Rock  was  unknown  in  the 
literature  before  JCF's  first  Report  was  issued,  and  the  general  and  early 
acceptance  of  that  name  is  one  more  indication  of  the  impact  his  Report  had 
on  an  America  looking  westward.  As  for  Chimney  Rock,  Preuss  made  a 
sketch  (p.  216)  which  is  the  second  oldest  on  record  (mattes,  385),  and 
said  it  looked  like  the  chimney  of  a  factory  or  "a  shot-tower  in  Baltimore." 
Preuss  appears  to  have  been  the  first  to  use  the  name  Chimney  Rock. 






the  Laramie  fork.  In  the  course  of  the  day  we  met  some  whites,  who 
were  following  along  in  the  train  of  Mr.  Bridger;  and,  after  a  day's 
journey  of  twenty-four  miles,  encamped  about  sunset  at  the  Chim- 
ney Rock,  of  which  the  annexed  drawing  [p.  216]  will  render  any 
description  unnecessary.  It  consists  of  marl  and  earthy  limestone, 
and  the  weather  is  rapidly  diminishing  its  height,  which  is  now 
not  more  than  two  hundred  feet  above  the  river.  Travellers  who 
visited  it  some  years  since  placed  its  height  at  upwards  of  five  hun- 
dred feet. 

"July  11.— The  valley  of  the  North  fork  is  of  a  variable  breadth, 
from  one  to  four  and  sometimes  six  miles.  Fifteen  miles  from  the 
Chimney  Rock  we  reached  one  of  those  places  where  the  river 
strikes  the  bluffs  and  forces  the  road  to  make  a  considerable  circuit 
over  the  uplands.  This  presented  an  escarpment  on  the  river  of  about 
nine  hundred  yards  in  length,  and  is  familiarly  known  as  Scott's 
blufls.^^  We  had  made  a  journey  of  thirty  miles  before  we  again 
struck  the  river,  at  a  place  where  some  scanty  grass  afforded  an  in- 
sufficient pasturage  to  our  animals.  About  twenty  miles  from  the 
Chimney  Rock  we  had  found  a  very  beautiful  spring  of  excellent 
and  cold  water;  but  it  was  in  such  a  deep  ravine,  and  so  small,  that 
the  animals  could  not  profit  by  it,  and  we  therefore  halted  only 
a  few  minutes,  and  found  a  resting  place  ten  miles  further  on.  The 
plain  between  Scott's  bluffs  and  Chimney  Rock  was  almost  entirely 
covered  with  drift  wood,  consisting  principally  of  cedar,  which,  we 
were  informed,  had  been  supplied  from  the  Black  Hills,  in  a  flood 
five  or  six  years  since. 

"]uly  12. — Nine  miles  from  our  encampment  of  yesterday  we 
crossed  Horse  creek,  a  shallow  stream  of  clear  water,  about  seventy 
yards  wide,  falling  into  the  Platte  on  the  right  bank.  It  was  lightly 
timbered,  and  great  quantities  of  drift  wood  were  piled  up  on  the 
banks,  appearing  to  be  supplied  by  the  creek  from  above.  After  a 
journey  of  twenty-six  miles,  we  encamped  on  a  rich  bottom,  which 
afforded  fine  grass  to  our  animals.  Buffalo  have  entirely  disappeared, 
and  we  live  now  upon  the  dried  meat  which  is  exceedingly  poor 
food.  The  marl  and  earthy  limestone,  which  constituted  the  forma- 
tion for  several  days  past,  had  changed  during  the  day  into  a  com- 

38.  Scotts  Bluf?,  south  of  the  river  near  Scottsbluff,  Nebr.,  is  a  national 
monument  maintained  by  the  National  Park  Service.  Portions  of  the  old 
wagon  trail  are  still  visible  near  by. 


pact  white  or  grayish  white  hmestone,  sometimes  containing  horn- 
stone;  and  at  the  place  of  our  encampment  this  evening,  some  strata 
in  the  river  hills  cropped  out  to  the  height  of  thirty  or  forty  feet, 
consisting  of  a  fine-grained  granitic  sandstone;  one  of  the  strata 
closely  resembling  gneiss. 

"July  13. — To-day,  about  four  o'clock,  we  reached  Fort  Laramie, 
where  we  were  cordially  received;  we  pitched  our  camp  a  little 
above  the  fort,  on  the  bank  of  Laramie  river,  in  which  the  pure 
and  clear  water  of  the  mountain  stream  looked  refreshingly  cool, 
and  made  a  pleasant  contrast  to  the  muddy,  yellow  waters  of  the 

I  walked  up  to  visit  our  friends  at  the  fort,  which  is  a  quadrangu- 
lar structure,  built  of  clay,  after  the  fashion  of  the  Mexicans,  who 
are  generally  employed  in  building  them.  The  walls  are  about  fif- 
teen feet  high,  surmounted  with  a  wooden  palisade,  and  form  a  por- 
tion of  ranges  of  houses,  which  entirely  surround  a  yard  of  about 
one  hundred  and  thirty  feet  square.  Every  apartment  has  its  door 
and  window,  all,  of  course,  opening  on  the  inside.  There  are  two 
entrances  opposite  each  other  and  midway  the  wall,  one  of  which 
is  a  large  and  public  entrance,  the  other  smaller  and  more  private: 
a  sort  of  postern  gate.  Over  the  great  entrance  is  a  square  tower,  with 
loopholes;  and,  like  the  rest  of  the  work,  built  of  earth.  At  two  of 
the  angles,  and  diagonally  opposite  each  other,  are  large  square 
bastions,  so  arranged  as  to  sweep  the  four  faces  of  the  walls. 

This  post  belongs  to  the  American  Fur  Company,  and,  at  the  time 
of  our  visit,  was  in  charge  of  Mr.  Boudeau.  Two  of  the  company's 
clerks,  Messrs.  Galpin  and  Kellogg,^^  were  with  him,  and  he  had 
in  the  fort  about  sixteen  men.  As  usual,  these  had  found  wives 

39.  The  end  of  the  so-called  abstract  from  the  Preuss  journal.  His  published 
version  merely  reads,  "Nothing  new,  except  that  we  arrived  at  the  Fort  to- 
day" (preuss,  23). 

40.  Charles  E.  Galpin  (d.  ca.  1870),  was  for  many  years  connected  with  the 
fur  trade  on  the  upper  Missouri,  and  was  in  charge  at  Fort  Pierre  when  it 
was  sold  to  the  U.S.  government.  Fort  Pierre  was  a  depot  for  Fort  Laramie 
at  this  time  (see  South  Dahota  Historical  Collections,  1:364-65).  The  other 
clerk  apparently  was  Philander  Kellogg  (1810-ca.  1848).  When  he  went  to 
the  North  Platte  region  is  uncertain,  but  his  brothers  Florentine  and  Benja- 
min Kellogg  encountered  him  unexpectedly  on  the  trail  during  a  trip  to 
California  in  1846  (korns,  153).  A  letter  from  Fort  Pierre,  19  Aug.  1845, 
from  A.  R.  Bonis  to  P.  Chouteau,  Jr.,  and  Company,  sheds  some  light  on 
Kellogg's  activities  and  also  illustrates  how  Fort  Pierre  served  as  a  shipping 


among  the  Indian  squaws;  and,  with  the  usual  accompaniment  of 
children,  the  place  had  quite  a  populous  appearance.  It  is  hardly 
necessary  to  say,  that  the  object  of  the  establishment  is  trade  with  the 
neighboring  tribes,  who,  in  the  course  of  the  year,  generally  make 
two  or  three  visits  to  the  fort.  In  addition  to  this,  traders,  with  a 
small  outfit,  are  constantly  kept  amongst  them.  The  articles  of  trade 
consist  on  the  one  side  almost  entirely  of  buffalo  robes,  and  on  the 
other,  of  blankets,  calicoes,  guns,  powder,  and  lead,  with  such  cheap 
ornaments  as  glass  beads,  looking-glasses,  rings,  vermilion  for 
painting,  tobacco,  and  principally,  and  in  spite  of  the  prohibition, 
of  spirits,  brought  into  the  country  in  the  form  of  alcohol,  and  di- 
luted with  water  before  sold.  While  mentioning  this  fact,  it  is  but 
justice  to  the  American  Fur  Company  to  state,  that,  throughout  the 
country,  I  have  always  found  them  strenuously  opposed  to  the  intro- 
duction of  spirituous  liquors.  But  in  the  present  state  of  things,  when 
the  country  is  supplied  with  alcohol,  when  a  keg  of  it  will  purchase 
from  an  Indian  every  thing  he  possesses — his  furs,  his  lodge,  his 
horses,  and  even  his  wife  and  children — and  when  any  vagabond 
who  has  money  enough  to  purchase  a  mule  can  go  into  a  village 
and  trade  against  them  successfully — without  withdrawing  entirely 
from  the  trade,  it  is  impossible  for  them  to  discontinue  its  use.  In 
their  opposition  to  this  practice,  the  company  is  sustained,  not  only 
by  their  obligation  to  the  laws  of  the  country  and  the  welfare  of  the 
Indians,  but  clearly,  also,  on  grounds  of  policy;  for,  with  heavy  and 
expensive  outfits,  they  contend  at  manifestly  great  disadvantage 
against  the  numerous  independent  and  unlicensed  traders,  who  enter 
the  country  from  various  avenues,  from  the  United  States  and  from 
Mexico,  having  no  other  stock  in  trade  than  some  kegs  of  liquor, 
which  they  sell  at  the  modest  price  of  thirty-six  dollars  per  gallon. 
The  difference  between  the  regular  trader  and  the  coureur  des  bois, 
as  the  French  call  the  itinerant  or  peddling  traders,  with  respect  to 
the  sale  of  spirits,  is  here  as  it  always  has  been,  fixed  and  permanent, 
and  growing  out  of  the  nature  of  their  trade.  The  regular  trader 
looks  ahead,  and  has  an  interest  in  the  preservation  of  the  Indians, 

point  for  Fort  Laramie.  "Messrs.  Lurty,  Harper  &  Farwell  arrived  yesterday 
from  Fort  John  |  Laramie].  They  left  Mr.  Kellogg  on  White  River  with  13 
wagons  and  carts  laden  with  387  Pack  Robes.  He  is  progressing  hut  slowly. 
...  I  expect  him  here  by  1st  September,  and  soon  as  possible  alter  his  arrival, 
I  will  start  two  mackinaw  boats  .  .  .  with  550  packs  for  St.  Louis"  (deland, 








and  in  the  regular  pursuit  of  their  business,  and  the  preservation  of 
their  arms,  horses,  and  every  thing  necessary  to  their  future  and  per- 
manent success  in  hunting:  the  coureur  des  bois  has  no  permanent 
interest,  and  gets  what  he  can,  and  for  what  he  can,  from  every  In- 
dian he  meets,  even  at  the  risk  of  disabHng  him  from  doing  any 
thing  more  at  hunting. 

The  fort  had  a  very  cool  and  clean  appearance.  The  great  en- 
trance, in  which  I  found  the  gentlemen  assembled,  and  which  was 
floored,  and  about  fifteen  feet  long,  made  a  pleasant,  shaded  seat, 
through  which  the  breeze  swept  constantly;  for  this  country  is 
famous  for  high  winds.  In  the  course  of  conversation,  I  learned 
the  following  particulars,  which  will  explain  the  condition  of  the 
country:  For  several  years  the  Cheyennes  and  Sioux  had  gradually 
become  more  and  more  hostile  to  the  whites,  and  in  the  latter  part 
of  August,  1841,  had  had  a  rather  severe  engagement  with  a  party 
of  sixty  men,  under  the  command  of  Mr.  Frapp,'*^  of  St.  Louis.  The 
Indians  lost  eight  or  ten  warriors,  and  the  whites  had  their  leader 
and  four  men  killed.  This  fight  took  place  on  the  waters  of  Snake 
river;  and  it  was  this  party,  on  their  return  under  Mr.  Bridger, 
which  had  spread  so  much  alarm  among  my  people.  In  the  course 
of  the  spring,  two  other  small  parties  had  been  cut  off  by  the  Sioux; 
one  on  their  return  from  the  Crow  nation,  and  the  other  among  the 
Black  Hills.  The  emigrants  to  Oregon  and  Mr.  Bridger's  party  met 
here,  a  few  days  before  our  arrival.  Division  and  misunderstandings 
had  grown  up  among  them;  they  were  already  somewhat  disheart- 
ened by  the  fatigue  of  their  long  and  wearisome  journey,  and  the 
feet  of  their  cattle  had  become  so  much  worn  as  to  be  scarcely  able 
to  travel.  In  this  situation,  they  were  not  likely  to  find  encourage- 
ment in  the  hostile  attitude  of  the  Indians,  and  the  new  and  unex- 
pected difficulties  which  sprang  up  before  them.  They  were  told  that 

41.  Henry  Fraeb,  who  had  been  one  of  the  founders  and  proprietors  of  the 
Rocky  Mountain  Fur  Company.  After  that  company  was  dissolved  in  1834, 
Fraeb  engaged  in  trade  both  independently  and  in  partnership  with  various 
men.  In  1840-41  his  partner  was  Jim  Bridger.  JCF's  report  of  the  number  of 
men  killed  when  Fraeb  skirmished  with  the  Cheyennes,  Arapahos,  and  Sioux 
is  only  one  of  many  differing  reports  (l.  hafen  [2|).  In  Dale  L.  Morgan's 
sketch  of  Fraeb  (anderson,  312-15),  he  corrects  JCF  by  pointing  out  that  the 
Fraeb  skirmish  probably  occurred  early  in  August,  not  the  "latter  part."  The 
scene  was  the  stream  now  called  the  Little  Snake,  and  JCF  has  considerably 
exaggerated  the  effect  of  the  attack  on  emigration  and  the  morale  of  emigrants 
who  learned  of  the  affair. 


the  country  was  entirely  swept  of  grass,  and  that  few  or  no  buffalo 
were  to  be  found  on  their  line  of  route;  and  with  their  weakened 
animals,  it  would  be  impossible  for  them  to  transport  their  heavy 
wagons  over  the  mountain.  Under  these  circumstances,  they  dis- 
posed of  their  wagons  and  cattle  at  the  forts;  selling  them  at  the 
prices  they  had  paid  in  the  States,  and  taking  in  exchange  coffee  and 
sugar  at  one  dollar  a  pound,  and  miserable  worn  out  horses,  which 
died  before  they  reached  the  mountains.  Mr.  Boudeau  informed  me 
that  he  had  purchased  thirty,  and  the  lower  fort  eighty  head  of  fine 
cattle,  some  of  them  of  the  Durham  breed.  Mr.  Fitzpatrick,'*'  whose 
name  and  high  reputation  are  familiar  to  all  who  interest  themselves 
in  the  history  of  this  country,  had  reached  Laramie  in  company  with 
Bridger;  and  the  emigrants  were  fortunate  enough  to  obtain  his 
services  to  guide  them  as  far  as  the  British  post  of  Fort  Hall,  about 
two  hundred  and  fifty  miles  beyond  the  South  Pass  of  the  moun- 
tains. They  had  started  for  this  post  on  the  4th  of  July,  and  im- 
mediately after  their  departure,  a  war  party  of  three  hundred  and 
fifty  braves  sat  out  upon  their  trail.  As  their  principal  chief  or  par- 
tisan had  lost  some  relations  in  the  recent  fight,  and  had  sworn  to 
kill  the  first  whites  on  his  path,  it  was  supposed  that  their  intention 
was  to  attack  the  party,  should  a  favorable  opportunity  offer;  or,  if 
they  were  foiled  in  their  principal  object  by  the  vigilance  of  Mr. 
Fitzpatrick,  content  themselves  with  stealing  horses  and  cutting  off 
stragglers.  These  had  been  gone  but  a  few  days  previous  to  our 

The  effect  of  the  engagement  with  Mr.  Frapp  had  been  greatly  to 
irritate  the  hostile  spirit  of  the  savages;  and  immediately  subse- 
quent to  that  event,  the  Gros  Ventre  Indians  had  united  with  the 
Oglallahs  and  Cheyennes,  and  taken  the  field  in  great  force,  so  far 
as  I  could  ascertain,  to  the  amount  of  eight  hundred  lodges.  Their 
object  was  to  make  an  attack  on  a  camp  of  Snake  and  Crow  Indians, 

42.  Thomas  Fitzpatrick  (1799-1854),  called  "Broken  Hand"  by  the  Indians, 
was  an  Irish  immigrant  who  became  one  of  the  greatest  of  the  "mountain 
men."  With  Bridger,  Fraeb,  and  others  he  had  organized  the  Rocky  Moun- 
tain Fur  Company  in  1830;  but  when  the  beaver  were  depleted  he  quit  trap- 
ping to  serve  as  a  guide  to  early  emigrant  trains  or  expeditions.  He  guided  the 
White-Hastings  party  to  Fort  Hall  from  Fort  Laramie  in  1842.  In  1843-45, 
he  would  serve  as  a  guide  for  ICF,  and  would  in  1846  become  an  Indian 
agent  for  tribes  on  the  upper  Platte  and  the  Arkansas  (DNA-75,,  LS,  38:357). 
See  the  biography  by  hafen  &  ghent. 


and  a  body  of  about  one  hundred  whites,  who  had  made  a  rendez- 
vous somewhere  in  the  Green  river  valley,  or  on  the  Sweet  Water. 
After  spending  some  time  in  buffalo  hunting  in  the  neighborhood 
of  the  Medicine  Bow  mountain,  they  were  to  cross  over  to  the  Green 
river  waters,  and  return  to  Laramie  by  way  of  the  South  Pass  and 
the  Sweet  Water  valley.  According  to  the  calculation  of  the  Indians, 
Mr.  Boudeau  informed  me  they  were  somewhere  near  the  head 
of  the  Sweet  Water.  I  subsequently  learned  that  the  party  led  by  Mr. 
Fitzpatrick  were  overtaken  by  their  pursuers,  near  Rock  Inde- 
pendence, in  the  valley  of  the  Sweet  Water;  but  his  skill  and  reso- 
lution saved  them  from  surprise,  and  small  as  his  force  was,  they  did 
not  venture  to  attack  him  openly.  Here  they  lost  one  of  their  party 
by  an  accident,  and,  continuing  up  the  valley,  they  came  suddenly 
upon  the  large  village.  From  these  they  met  with  a  doubtful  recep- 
tion. Long  residence  and  familiar  acquaintance  had  given  to  Mr. 
Fitzpatrick  great  personal  influence  among  them,  and  a  portion  of 
them  were  disposed  to  let  him  pass  quietly;  but  by  far  the  greater 
number  were  inclined  to  hostile  measures;  and  the  chiefs  spent  the 
whole  of  one  night,  during  which  they  kept  the  little  party  in  the 
midst  of  them,  in  council,  debating  the  question  of  attacking  them 
the  next  day;  but  the  influence  of  "the  Broken  Hand,"  as  they 
called  Mr.  Fitzpatrick  (one  of  his  hands  having  been  shattered  by 
the  bursting  of  a  gun),  at  length  prevailed,  and  obtained  for  them 
an  unmolested  passage;  but  they  sternly  assured  him  that  this  path 
was  no  longer  open,  and  that  any  party  of  whites  which  should 
hereafter  be  found  upon  it,  would  meet  with  certain  destruction. 
From  all  that  I  have  been  able  to  learn,  I  have  no  doubt  that  the 
emigrants  owe  their  lives  to  Mr.  Fitzpatrick. 

Thus  it  would  appear  that  the  country  was  swarming  with  scat- 
tered war  parties;  and  when  I  heard  during  the  day,  the  various  con- 
tradictory and  exaggerated  rumors  which  were  incessantly  repeated 
to  them,  I  was  not  surprised  that  so  much  alarm  prevailed  among 
my  men.  Carson,  one  of  the  best  and  most  experienced  mountain- 
eers, fully  supported  the  opinion  given  by  Bridger  of  the  dangerous 
state  of  the  country,  and  openly  expressed  his  conviction  that  we 
could  not  escape  without  some  sharp  encounters  with  the  Indians 


43.  The  draft  manuscript  has  Carson  saying  that  "all  of  us  should  never 
see  that  fort  again." 


In  addition  to  this,  he  made  his  will,  and  among  the  circumstances 
which  were  constantly  occurring  to  increase  their  alarm,  this  was 
the  most  unfortunate;  and  I  found  that  a  number  of  my  party  had 
become  so  much  intimidated,  that  they  had  requested  to  be  dis- 
charged at.  this  place.  I  dined  to-day  at  Fort  Platte,  which  has  been 
mentioned  as  situated  at  the  junction  of  Laramie  river  with  the 
Nebraska.  Here  I  heard  a  confirmation  of  the  statements  given 
above.  The  party  of  warriors,  which  had  started  a  few  days  since  on 
the  trail  of  the  emigrants,  was  expected  back  in  fourteen  days,  to  join 
the  village  with  which  their  families  and  the  old  men  had  remained. 
The  arrival  of  the  latter  was  hourly  expected,  and  some  Indians  have 
just  come  in  who  had  left  them  on  the  Laramie  fork,  about  twenty 
miles  above.  Mr.  Bissonette,  one  of  the  traders  belonging  to  Fort 
Platte,  urged  the  propriety  of  taking  with  me  an  interpreter  and  two 
or  three  old  men  of  the  village,  in  which  case,  he  thought  there 
would  be  little  or  no  hazard  in  encountering  any  of  the  war  parties. 
The  principal  danger  was  in  being  attacked  before  they  should  know 
who  we  were. 

They  had  a  confused  idea  of  the  numbers  and  power  of  our  peo- 
ple, and  dreaded  to  bring  upon  themselves  the  military  force  of  the 
United  States.  This  gentleman,  who  spoke  the  language  fluently, 
offered  his  services  to  accompany  me  so  far  as  the  Red  Buttes.  He 
was  desirous  to  join  the  large  party  on  its  return,  for  purposes  of 
trade,  and  it  would  suit  his  views  as  well  as  my  own,  to  go  with  us 
to  the  Buttes;  beyond  which  point  it  would  be  impossible  to  prevail 
on  a  Sioux  to  venture,  on  account  of  their  fear  of  the  Crows.  From 
Fort  Laramie  to  the  Red  Buttes,  by  the  ordinary  road,  is  one  hundred 
and  thirty-five  miles;  and,  though  only  on  the  threshold  of  danger, 
it  seemed  better  to  secure  the  services  of  an  interpreter  [Joseph  Bis- 
sonette] for  the  partial  distance,  than  to  have  none  at  all. 

So  far  as  frequent  interruption  from  the  Indians  would  allow,  we 
occupied  ourselves  in  making  some  astronomical  calculations,  and 
bringing  up  the  general  map  to  this  stage  of  our  journey,  but  the 
tent  was  generally  occupied  by  a  succession  of  our  ceremonious 
visitors.  Some  came  for  presents,  and  others  for  information  of  our 
object  in  coming  to  the  country;  now  and  then  one  would  dart  up  to 
the  tent  on  horseback,  jerk  ofT  his  trappings,  and  stand  silently  at  the 
door,  holding  his  horse  by  the  halter,  signifying  his  desire  to  trade. 
Occasionally  a  savage  would  stalk  in,  with  an  invitation  to  a  feast  of 
honor,  a  dog  feast,  and  deliberately  sit  down  and  wait  quietly  until 


I  was  ready  to  accompany  him/^  I  went  to  one;  the  women  and 
children  were  sitting  outside  the  lodge,  and  we  took  our  seats  on 
buffalo  robes  spread  around.  The  dog  was  in  a  large  pot  over  the 
fire  in  the  middle  of  the  lodge,  and  immediately  on  our  arrival  was 
dished  up  in  large  wooden  bowls,  one  of  which  was  handed  to  each. 
The  flesh  appeared  very  glutinous,  with  something  of  the  flavor  and 
appearance  of  mutton.  Feeling  something  move  behind  me,  I  looked 
round  and  found  that  I  had  taken  my  seat  among  a  litter  of  fat 
young  puppies.  Had  I  been  nice  in  such  matters,  the  prejudices  of 
civilization  might  have  interfered  with  my  tranquility;  but  fortu- 
nately, I  am  not  of  delicate  nerves,  and  continued  quietly  to  empty 
my  platter. 

The  weather  was  cloudy  at  evening,  with  a  moderate  south  wind, 
and  the  thermometer  at  6  o'clock  85°.  I  was  disappointed  in  my 
hope  of  obtaining  an  observation  of  an  occultation,  which  took  place 
about  midnight.  The  moon  brought  with  her  heavy  banks  of  clouds, 
through  which  she  scarcely  made  her  appearance  during  the  night. 

The  morning  of  the  18th  was  cloudy  and  calm,  the  thermometer 
at  6  o'clock  at  64°.  About  9,  with  a  moderate  wind  from  the  west,  a 
storm  of  rain  came  on,  accompanied  by  sharp  thunder  and  lightning, 
which  lasted  about  an  hour.  During  the  day  the  expected  village 
arrived,  consisting  principally  of  old  men,  women,  and  children. 
They  had  a  considerable  number  of  horses,  and  large  troops  of  dogs. 
Their  lodges  were  pitched  near  the  fort,  and  our  camp  was  con- 
stantly crowded  with  Indians  of  all  sizes,  from  morning  until  night; 
at  which  time  some  of  the  soldiers  generally  came  to  drive  them  all 
off  to  the  village.  My  tent  was  the  only  place  which  they  respected. 
Here  only  came  the  chiefs  and  men  of  distinction,  and  generally  one 
of  them  remained  to  drive  away  the  women  and  children.  The  nu- 
merous strange  instruments  applied  to  still  stranger  uses  excited  awe 
and  admiration  among  them,  and  those  which  I  used  in  talking  with 
the  sun  and  stars  they  looked  upon  with  especial  reverence,  as  mys- 
terious things  of  "great  medicine."  Of  the  three  barometers  which  I 
had  brought  with  me  thus  far  successfully,  I  found  that  two  were  out 
of  order,  and  spent  the  greater  part  of  the  19th  in  repairing  them,  an 
operation  of  no  small  difficulty  in  the  midst  of  the  incessant  inter- 

44.  "These  Indians  are  irksome  people,  pesky  as  children.  They  come  into 
the  tent,  sit  down,  and  smoke  their  pipes  as  if  they  were  at  home"  (preuss, 


ruptions  to  which  I  was  subjected.  We  had  the  misfortune  to  break 
here  a  large  thermometer,  graduated  to  show  fifths  of  a  degree, 
which  I  used  to  ascertain  the  temperature  of  boiUng  water,  and  with 
which  I  had  promised  myself  some  interesting  experiments  in  the 
mountains.  We  had  but  one  remaining,  on  which  the  graduation 
extended  sufficiently  high,  and  this  was  too  small  for  exact  obser- 
vations. During  our  stay  here  the  men  had  been  engaged  in  making 
numerous  repairs,  arranging  pack  saddles,  and  otherwise  preparing 
for  the  chances  of  a  rough  road  and  mountain  travel.  All  things  of 
this  nature  being  ready,  I  gathered  them  around  me  in  the  evening, 
and  told  them  that  "I  had  determined  to  proceed  the  next  day.  They 
were  all  well  armed.  I  had  engaged  the  services  of  Mr.  Bissonette  as 
interpreter,  and  had  taken,  in  the  circumstances,  every  possible 
means  to  insure  our  safety.  In  the  rumors  we  had  heard  I  believed 
there  was  much  exaggeration,  and  then  they  were  men  accustomed 
to  this  kind  of  life  and  to  the  country;  and  that  these  were  the  dan- 
gers of  every  day  occurrence,  and  to  be  expected  in  the  ordinary 
course  of  their  service.  They  had  heard  of  the  unsettled  condition  of 
the  country  before  leaving  St.  Louis,  and  therefore  could  not  make  it 
a  reason  for  breaking  their  engagements.  Still  I  was  unwilling  to 
take  with  me  on  a  service  of  some  certain  danger,  men  on  whom  I 
could  not  rely;  and  as  I  had  understood  that  there  were  among  them 
some  who  were  disposed  to  cowardice,  and  anxious  to  return, 
they  had  but  to  come  forward  at  once  and  state  their  desire,  and  they 
would  be  discharged  with  the  amount  due  to  them  for  the  time  they 
had  served."  To  their  honor  be  it  said,  there  was  but  one  among 
them  who  had  the  face  to  come  forward  and  avail  himself  of  the 
permission."*^  I  asked  him  some  few  questions  in  order  to  expose 
him  to  the  ridicule  of  the  men,  and  let  him  go.  The  day  after  our 
departure  he  engaged  himself  to  one  of  the  forts,  and  set  off  with  a 
party  for  the  Upper  Missouri.  I  did  not  think  that  the  situation  of 
the  country  justified  me  in  taking  our  young  companions,  Messrs. 
Brant  and  Benton,  along  with  us.  In  case  of  misfortune,  it  would 

45.  Deleted  from  the  manuscript  draft:  "The  same  [Registe]  Larent  whom 
I  have  previously  had  occasion  to  mention.  He  was  a  well-looking,  robust  man 
of  thirty,  &  on  this  occasion  pleaded  sickness  as  a  reason  for  not  exposing 
himself  to  the  hardships  of  the  Mountains.  His  only  sickness  consisted  in 
overeating  himself  &  I  had  frequently  been  obliged  to  give  him  medicine,  to 
assist  him  in  getting  rid  of  the  enormous  quantity  of  animal  food  he  daily 


have  been  thought,  at  the  least,  an  act  of  great  imprudence;  and 
therefore,  though  reluctantly,  I  determined  to  leave  them.  Randolph 
had  been  the  life  of  the  camp,  and  the  "petit  garcon"  was  much  re- 
gretted by  the  men,  to  whom  his  buoyant  spirits  had  afforded  great 
amusement.  They  all,  however,  agreed  in  the  propriety  of  leaving 
him  at  the  fort,  because,  as  they  said,  he  might  cost  the  lives  of  some 
of  the  men  in  a  fight  with  the  Indians. 

July  21. — A  portion  of  our  baggage,  with  our  field  notes  and  obser- 
vations, and  several  instruments,  were  left  at  the  fort.  One  of  the 
gentlemen,  Mr.  Galpin,  took  charge  of  a  barometer,  which  he  en- 
gaged to  observe  during  my  absence,  and  I  entrusted  to  Randolph, 
by  way  of  occupation,  the  regular  winding  up  of  two  of  my  chro- 
nometers, which  were  among  the  instruments  left.  Our  observations 
showed  that  the  chronometer  which  I  retained  for  the  continuation 
of  our  voyage  had  preserved  its  rate  in  a  most  satisfactory  manner. 
As  deduced  from  it,  the  longitude  of  Fort  Laramie  is  Ih.  01'  21",  and 
from  lunar  distance  7/!.  01' 29",  giving  for  the  adopted  longitude 
105°  21'  10".  Comparing  the  barometrical  observations  made  during 
our  stay  here  with  those  of  Dr.  G.  Engelman  at  St.  Louis,  we  find 
for  the  elevation  of  the  fort  above  the  Gulf  of  Mexico  4,470  feet.  The 
winter  climate  here  is  remarkably  mild  for  the  latitude;  but  rainy 
weather  is  frequent,  and  the  place  is  celebrated  for  winds,  of  which 
the  prevailing  one  is  west.  An  east  wind  in  summer  and  a  south 
wind  in  winter  is  said  to  be  always  accompanied  with  rain. 

We  were  ready  to  depart;  the  tents  were  struck,  the  mules  geared 
up,  and  our  horses  saddled,  and  we  walked  up  to  the  fort  to  take  the 
stirrup  cup  with  our  friends  in  an  excellent  home-brewed  prepara- 
tion.'*' While  thus  pleasantly  engaged,  seated  in  one  of  the  little  cool 

46.  "We  left  the  large  chronometer  in  Laramie;  Fremont  succeeded  in  mak- 
ing it  run  again,  and  he  was  jubilant  when  he  heard  again  the  ticking  and 
tick-tocking.  In  comparing  we  found,  however,  that  every  twenty-four  hours 
it  went  wrong  by  about  one  hour.  Oh,  you  American  blockheads!"  (preuss, 

47.  Oliver  P.  Wiggins,  who  was  probably  born  on  Grand  Island  in  the 
Niagara  River  in  1823,  claimed  that  he  and  a  few  friends  joined  the  expedi- 
tion at  Fort  Laramie  and  accompanied  it  westward  "because  they  could  be 
depended  on  to  fight  in  Indian  dangers"  ("Early  Far  West  Notes,"  F.  W. 
Cragin,  Western  History  Collection,  CoU).  In  carson,  20-22,  Harvey  L. 
Carter  not  only  points  out  the  preposterous  nature  of  this  claim,  which  had 
been  accepted  by  such  biographers  as  Edwin  L.  Sabin  and  M.  Morgan  Ester- 
green,  but  also  questions  his  whole  association  with  Kit  Carson  at  Taos.  In 


chambers,  at  the  door  of  which  a  man  had  been  stationed  to  prevent 
all  intrusion  from  the  Indians,  a  number  of  chiefs,  several  of  them 
powerful  fine-looking  men,  forced  their  way  into  the  room  in  spite 
of  all  opposition.  Handing  me  the  following  letter,  they  took  their 
seats  in  silence: 

"Fort  Platte,  ]uly  1, 1842. 

"Mr.  Fremont:  Les  chefs  s'etant  assembles  presentement  me  disent 
de  vous  avertir  de  ne  point  vous  mettre  en  route,  avant  que  le  parti 
de  jeunes  gens  qui  est  en  dehors,  soient  de  retour.  Deplus  ils  me 
disent  qu'ils  sont  tres  certain  qu'ils  feront  feu,  a  la  premiere  rencontre. 
Ils  doivent  etre  de  retour  dans  sept  a  huit  jours;  excusez  si  je  vous 
fais  cos  observations,  mais  il  me  semble  qu'il  est  mon  devoir  de  vous 
avertir  du  danger.  Meme  de  plus,  les  chefs  sont  les  porteurs  de  ce 
billet,  qui  vous  defendent  de  partir  avant  le  retour  des  guerriers. 

"Je  suis  votre  ob't  servt'r, 

"Joseph  Bissonette, 
"Par  L.  B.  Chartrain.'"' 

Les  noms  de  quelques  chefs: 

Le  Chapeau  de  Loutre,  le  Casseur  de  Fleches,  la  Nuit  Noir,  La 
Queue  de  Boeuf . 


"Fort  Platte,  ]uly  1,  1842. 

"Mr.  Fremont:  The  chiefs  having  assembled  in  council,  have  just 
told  me  to  warn  you  not  to  set  out  before  the  party  of  young  men 
which  is  now  out  shall  have  returned.  Furthermore,  they  tell  me 
that  they  are  very  sure  they  will  fire  upon  you  as  soon  as  they  meet 
you.  They  are  expected  back  in  seven  or  eight  days;  excuse  me  for 
making  these  observations,  but  it  seems  my  duty  to  warn  you  of 

fact,  Carter  is  reasonably  certain  that  Wiggins,  who  has  been  exposed  as  a 
complete  charlatan,  did  not  come  west  before  1850,  and  then  only  as  far  as 
Scottsbluff,  Nebr. 

48.  L.  B.  Chartrain  probably  left  Independence  with  a  Sibille  &  Adams 
party  in  the  fall  of  1841.  The  fragmentary  diaries  of  Adams  (MoSHi)  first 
mention  him  in  December  of  that  year,  saying  he  has  gone  to  trade  on 
Cheyenne  waters.  He  is  last  mentioned  in  the  diaries  in  1845. 


danger.  Moreover,  the  chiefs  who  prohibit  your  setting  out  before 
the  return  of  the  warriors  are  the  bearers  of  this  note. 
"I  am  your  obedient  servant, 

"Joseph  Bissonette, 
"By  L.  B.  Chartrain." 

"Names  of  some  of  the  chiefs: 

"The  Otter  Hat,  the  Breaker  of  Arrows,  the  Black  Night,  the 
Bull's  Tail." 

After  reading  this,  I  mentioned  its  purport  to  my  companions,  and 
seeing  that  all  were  fully  possessed  of  its  contents,  one  of  the  Indians 
rose  up,  and,  having  first  shaken  hands  with  me,  spoke  as  follows: 

"You  have  come  among  us  at  a  bad  time.  Some  of  our  people  have 
been  killed,  and  our  young  men,  who  are  gone  to  the  mountains, 
are  eager  to  avenge  the  blood  of  their  relations,  which  has  been  shed 
by  the  whites.  Our  young  men  are  bad,  and  if  they  meet  you  they 
will  believe  that  you  are  carrying  goods  and  ammunition  to  their 
enemies,  and  will  fire  upon  you.  You  have  told  us  that  this  will 
make  war.  We  know  that  our  great  father  has  many  soldiers  and 
big  guns,  and  we  are  anxious  to  have  our  lives.  We  love  the  whites, 
and  are  desirous  of  peace.  Thinking  of  all  these  things,  we  have 
determined  to  keep  you  here  until  our  warriors  return.  We  are  glad 
to  see  you  among  us.  Our  father  is  rich,  and  we  expected  that  you 
would  have  brought  presents  to  us — horses,  and  guns,  and  blankets. 
But  we  are  glad  to  see  you.  We  look  upon  your  coming  as  the  light 
which  goes  before  the  sun ;  for  you  will  tell  our  great  father  that  you 
have  seen  us,  and  that  we  are  naked  and  poor,  and  have  nothing  to 
eat,  and  he  will  send  us  all  these  things."  He  was  followed  by  others 
to  the  same  effect. 

The  observations  of  the  savage  appeared  reasonable;  but  I  was 
aware  that  they  had  in  view  only  the  present  object  of  detaining  me, 
and  were  unwilling  I  should  go  further  into  the  country.  In  reply,  I 
asked  them,  through  the  interpretation  of  Mr.  Boudeau,  to  select  two 
or  three  of  their  number  to  accompany  us  until  we  should  meet  their 
people — they  should  spread  their  robes  in  my  tent  and  eat  at  my 
table,  and  on  our  return  I  would  give  them  presents  in  reward  of 
their  services.  They  declined,  saying  that  there  were  no  young  men 
left  in  the  village,  and  that  they  were  too  old  to  travel  so  many  days 
on  horseback,  and  preferred  now  to  smoke  their  pipes  in  the  lodge, 


and  let  the  warriors  go  on  the  war-path.  Besides,  they  had  no  power 
over  the  young  men,  and  were  afraid  to  interfere  with  them.  In  my 
turn  I  addressed  them:  "You  say  that  you  love  the  whites;  why  have 
you  killed  so  many  already  this  spring?  You  say  that  you  love  the 
whites,  and  are  full  of  many  expressions  of  friendship  to  us,  but  you 
are  not  willing  to  undergo  the  fatigue  of  a  few  days'  ride  to  save  our 
lives.  We  do  not  believe  what  you  have  said,  and  will  not  listen  to 
you.  Whatever  a  chief  among  us  tells  his  soldiers  to  do,  is  done.  We 
are  the  soldiers  of  the  great  chief,  your  father.  He  has  told  us  to 
come  here  and  see  this  country,  and  all  the  Indians,  his  children.  Why 
should  we  not  go  ?  Before  we  came,  we  heard  that  you  had  killed  his 
people,  and  ceased  to  be  his  children;  but  we  came  among  you  peace- 
ably, holding  out  our  hands.  Now  we  find  that  the  stories  we  heard 
are  not  lies,  and  that  you  are  no  longer  his  friends  and  children.  We 
have  thrown  away  our  bodies,  and  will  not  turn  back.  When  you 
told  us  that  your  young  men  would  kill  us,  you  did  not  know  that 
our  hearts  were  strong,  and  you  did  not  see  the  rifles  which  my 
young  men  carry  in  their  hands.  We  are  few,  and  you  are  many,  and 
may  kill  us  all;  but  there  will  be  much  crying  in  your  villages,  for 
many  of  your  young  men  will  stay  behind,  and  forget  to  return  with 
your  warriors  from  the  mountains.  Do  you  think  that  our  great  chief 
will  let  his  soldiers  die,  and  forget  to  cover  their  graves  ?  Before  the 
snows  melt  again,  his  warriors  will  sweep  away  your  villages  as  the 
fire  does  the  prairie  in  the  autumn.  See!  I  have  pulled  down  my 
white  houses,  and  my  people  are  ready:  when  the  sun  is  ten  paces 
higher,  we  shall  be  on  the  march.  If  you  have  anything  to  tell  us,  you 
will  say  it  soon."  I  broke  up  the  conference,  as  I  could  do  nothing 
with  these  people,  and  being  resolved  to  proceed,  nothing  was  to  be 
gained  by  delay.  Accompanied  by  our  hospitable  friends,  we  re- 
turned to  the  camp.  We  had  mounted  our  horses,  and  our  parting 
salutations  had  been  exchanged,  when  one  of  the  chiefs,  the  Bull's 
Tail,  arrived  to  tell  me  that  they  had  determined  to  send  a  young 
man  with  us;  and  if  I  would  point  out  the  place  of  our  evening 
camp,  he  should  join  us  there.  "The  young  man  is  poor,"  said  he; 
"he  has  no  horse,  and  expects  you  to  give  him  one."  I  described  to 
him  the  place  where  I  intended  to  encamp,  and  shaking  hands,  in 
a  few  minutes  we  were  among  the  hills,  and  this  last  habitation  of 
whites  shut  out  from  our  view. 

The  road  led  over  an  interesting  plateau  between  the  north  fork 
of  the  Platte  on  the  right  and  Laramie  river  on  the  left.  At  the  dis- 


tance  of  ten  miles  from  the  fort  we  entered  the  sandy  bed  of  a  creek, 
a  kind  of  defile,  shaded  by  precipitous  rocks,  down  which  we  wound 
our  way  for  several  hundred  yards  to  a  place  where,  on  the  left  bank, 
a  very  large  spring  gushes  with  considerable  noise  and  force  out  of 
the  limestone  rock.  It  is  called  "the  Warm  Spring,"  and  furnishes  to 
the  hitherto  dry  bed  of  the  creek  a  considerable  rivulet.  On  the  op- 
posite side,  a  little  below  the  spring,  is  a  lofty  limestone  escarpment, 
partially  shaded  by  a  grove  of  large  trees,  whose  green  foliage,  in 
contrast  with  the  whiteness  of  the  rock,  renders  this  a  picturesque 
locality.  The  rock  is  fossiliferous,  and,  so  far  as  I  was  able  to  deter- 
mine the  character  of  the  fossils,  belongs  to  the  carboniferous  lime- 
stone of  the  Missouri  river,  and  is  probably  the  western  limit  of  that 
formation.  Beyond  this  point  I  met  with  no  fossils  of  any  description. 
I  was  desirous  to  visit  the  Platte  near  the  point  where  it  leaves  the 
Black  Hills,  and  therefore  followed  this  stream,  for  two  or  three 
miles,  to  the  mouth;  where  I  encamped  on  a  spot  which  afforded 
good  grass  and  prele  (equisetum)  for  our  animals.  Our  tents  having 
been  found  too  thin  to  protect  ourselves  and  the  instruments  from 
the  rains,  which  in  this  elevated  country  are  attended  with  cold  and 
unpleasant  weather,  I  had  procured  from  the  Indians  at  Laramie  a 
tolerably  large  lodge,  about  eighteen  feet  in  diameter  and  twenty  feet 
in  height.  Such  a  lodge,  when  properly  pitched,  is,  from  its  conical 
form,  almost  perfectly  secure  against  the  violent  winds  which  are 
frequent  in  this  region,  and  with  a  fire  in  the  centre  is  a  dry  and 
warm  shelter  in  bad  weather.  By  raising  the  lower  part  so  as  to 
permit  the  breeze  to  pass  freely,  it  is  converted  into  a  pleasant  sum- 
mer residence,  with  the  extraordinary  advantage  of  being  entirely 
free  from  mosquitoes,  one  of  which  I  have  never  seen  in  an  Indian 
lodge.  While  we  were  engaged  very  unskilfully  in  erecting  this,  the 
interpreter,  Mr.  Bissonette,  arrived,  accompanied  by  the  Indian  and 
his  wife.  She  laughed  at  our  awkwardness,  and  offered  her  assistance, 
of  which  we  were  frequently  afterward  obliged  to  avail  ourselves, 
before  the  men  acquired  suflBcient  expertness  to  pitch  it  without 
difficulty.  From  this  place  we  had  a  fine  view  of  the  gorge  where  the 
Platte  issues  from  the  Black  Hills,  changing  its  character  abruptly 
from  a  mountain  stream  into  a  river  of  the  plains.^**  Immediately 

49.  The  trail  the  party  has  heen  following  has  not  run  directly  along  the 
banks  of  the  North  Platte,  so  JCF  has  come  down  to  the  river  to  inspect  the 
rough  country   in   the   vicinity   of  Guernsey,  Wyo.   The  original   course   and 


around  us  the  valley  of  the  stream  was  tolerably  open,  and  at  the  dis- 
tance of  a  few  miles,  where  the  river  had  cut  its  way  through  the 
hills,  was  the  narrow  cleft,  on  one  side  of  which  a  lofty  precipice  of 
bright  red  rock  rose  vertically  above  the  low  hills  which  lay  between 

]uly  22. — In  the  morning,  while  breakfast  was  being  prepared,  I 
visited  this  place  with  my  favorite  man,  Basil  Lajeunesse.  Entering 
so  far  as  there  was  footing  for  the  mules,  we  dismounted,  and,  tying 
our  animals,  continued  our  way  on  foot.  Like  the  whole  country,  the 
scenery  of  the  river  had  undergone  an  entire  change,  and  was  in  this 
place  the  most  beautiful  I  have  ever  seen.  The  breadth  of  the  stream, 
generally  near  that  of  its  valley,  was  from  two  to  three  hundred  feet, 
with  a  swift  current,  occasionally  broken  by  rapids,  and  the  water 
perfectly  clear.  On  either  side  rose  the  red  precipices,  vertical,  and 
sometimes  overhanging,  two  and  four  hundred  feet  in  height, 
crowned  with  green  summits,  on  which  were  scattered  a  few  pines. 
At  the  foot  of  the  rocks  was  the  usual  detritus,  formed  of  masses 
fallen  from  above.  Among  the  pines  that  grew  here  and  on  the  oc- 
casional banks,  were  the  cherry,  {cerasus  virginiana)  currants,  and 
grains  de  boeuf  {shepherdia  argentea.)  Viewed  in  the  sunshine  of  a 
pleasant  morning,  the  scenery  was  of  a  most  striking  and  romantic 
beauty,  which  arose  from  the  picturesque  disposition  of  the  objects 
and  the  vivid  contrast  of  colors.  I  thought  with  much  pleasure  of  our 
approaching  descent  in  the  canoe  through  such  interesting  places; 
and,  in  the  expectation  of  being  able  at  that  time  to  give  to  them  a 
full  examination,  did  not  now  dwell  so  much  as  might  have  been 
desirable  upon  the  geological  formations  along  the  line  of  the  river, 
where  they  are  developed  with  great  clearness.  The  upper  portion  of 
the  red  strata  consists  of  very  compact  clay,  in  which  are  occasionally 
seen  imbedded  large  pebbles.  Below  was  a  stratum  of  compact  red 
sandstone,  changing  a  little  above  the  river  into  a  very  hard  siliceous 
limestone.  There  is  a  small  but  handsome  open  prairie  immediately 
below  this  place,  on  the  left  bank  of  the  river,  which  would  be  a 

nature  of  the  river,  west  of  Guernsey,  are  now  obscured  by  the  Guernsey 
Reservoir  and  a  smaller  man-made  body  of  water,  Newell  Bay. 

Dale  L.  Morgan,  in  his  correspondence  with  us,  believes  it  clear  from  JCF's 
text  that  he  took  what  later  became  known  as  the  Hill  Road  from  Fort  Lara- 
mie to  Warm  Spring  (thus  reaching  Warm  Spring  Canyon  above  the  spring), 
not  the  River  Road  traveled  by  the  Mormons  in  1847,  which  kept  to  the  banks 
of  the  North  Platte  as  far  as  the  mouth  of  Warm  Spring  Canyon.  This  Hill 
Road  followed  the  divide  between  the  Laramie  and  North  Platte  rivers. 


good  locality  for  a  military  post.  There  are  some  open  groves  of  Cot- 
tonwood on  the  Platte.  The  small  stream  which  comes  in  at  this 
place  is  well  timbered  with  pine,  and  good  building  rock  is  abun- 

If  it  is  in  contemplation  to  keep  open  the  communications  with 
Oregon  Territory,  a  show  of  military  force  in  this  country  is  abso- 
lutely necessary;  and  a  combination  of  advantages  renders  the  neigh- 
borhood of  Fort  Laramie  the  most  suitable  place,  on  the  line  of  the 
Platte,  for  the  establishment  of  a  military  post.  It  is  connected  with 
the  mouth  of  the  Platte  and  the  Upper  Missouri  by  excellent  roads, 
which  are  in  frequent  use,  and  would  not  in  any  way  interfere  with 
the  range  of  the  buffalo,  on  which  the  neighboring  Indians  mainly 
depend  for  support.  It  would  render  any  posts  on  the  Lower  Platte 
unnecessary;  the  ordinary  communication  between  it  and  the  Mis- 
souri being  sufficient  to  control  the  intermediate  Indians.  It  would 
operate  effectually  to  prevent  any  such  coalitions  as  are  now  formed 
among  the  Gros  Ventres,  Sioux,  Cheyennes,  and  other  Indians,  and 
would  keep  the  Oregon  road  through  the  valley  of  the  Sweet  Water 
and  the  South  Pass  of  the  mountains  constantly  open.  A  glance  at 
the  map'^"  which  accompanies  this  report,  will  show  that  it  lies  at 
the  foot  of  a  broken  and  mountainous  region,  along  which,  by  the 
establishment  of  small  posts,  in  the  neighborhood  of  St.  Vrain's  fort, 
on  the  South  fork  of  the  Platte,  and  Bent's  fort,  on  the  Arkansas,  a 
line  of  communication  would  be  formed,  by  good  wagon  roads,  with 
our  southern  military  posts,  which  would  entirely  command  the 
mountain  passes,  hold  some  of  the  most  troublesome  tribes  in  check, 
and  protect  and  facilitate  our  intercourse  with  the  neighboring  Span- 
ish settlements.  The  vallies  of  the  rivers  on  which  they  would  be 
situated  are  fertile;  the  country  which  supports  immense  herds  of 
buffalo  is  admirably  adapted  to  grazing,  and  herds  of  catde  might 
be  maintained  by  the  posts,  or  obtained  from  the  Spanish  country, 
which  already  supplies  a  portion  of  their  provisions  to  the  trading 
posts  mentioned  above. 

Just  as  we  were  leaving  the  camp  this  morning  our  Indian  came 
up,  and  stated  his  intention  of  not  proceeding  any  further  until  he 
had  seen  the  horse  which  I  intended  to  give  him.  I  felt  strongly 
tempted  to  drive  him  out  of  the  camp,  but  his  presence  appeared  to 
give  confidence  to  my  men,  and  the  interpreter  thought  it  absolutely 

50.  See  Map  2  (Map  Portfolio). 


necessary.  I  was,  therefore,  obliged  to  do  what  he  requested,  and 
pointed  out  the  animal,  with  which  he  seemed  satisfied,  and  we  con- 
tinued our  journey.  I  had  imagined  that  Mr.  Rissonette's  long  resi- 
dence had  made  him  acquainted  with  the  country,  and,  according  to 
his  advice,  proceeded  directly  forward  without  attempting  to  regain 
the  usual  road.  He  afterward  informed  me  that  he  had  rarely  ever 
lost  sight  of  the  fort;  but  the  effect  of  the  mistake  was  to  involve  us 
for  a  day  or  two  among  the  hills,  where,  although  we  lost  no  time, 
we  encountered  an  exceedingly  rough  road. 

To  the  south,  along  our  line  of  march  to-day,  the  main  chain  of 
the  Black  or  Laramie  Hills'^^  rises  precipitatous  [precipitously]. 
Time  did  not  permit  me  to  visit  them,  but,  from  comparative  infor- 
mation, the  ridge  is  composed  of  the  coarse  sandstone  or  conglom- 
erate hereafter  described.  It  appears  to  enter  the  region  of  clouds, 
which  are  arrested  in  their  course  and  lie  in  masses  along  the  sum- 
mits. An  inverted  cone  of  black  cloud  (cumulus)  rested  during  all 
the  forenoon  on  the  lofty  peak  of  Laramie  Mountain,  which  I  esti- 
mated to  be  about  two  thousand  feet  above  the  fort,  or  six  thousand 
five  hundred  above  the  sea.  We  halted  to  noon  on  the  Fourche 
Amere  [Cottonwood  Creek],  so  called  from  being  timbered  prin- 
cipally with  the  Hard  amere  (a  species  of  poplar),  with  which  the 
valley  of  the  little  stream  is  tolerably  well  wooded,  and  which,  with 
large  expansive  summits,  grows  to  the  height  of  sixty  or  seventy 

The  bed  of  the  creek  is  sand  and  gravel,  the  water  dispersed  over 
the  broad  bed  in  several  shallow  streams.  We  found  here,  on  the 
right  bank,  in  the  shade  of  the  trees,  a  fine  spring  of  very  cold  water. 
It  will  be  remarked  that  I  do  not  mention,  in  this  portion  of  the 
journey,  the  temperature  of  the  air,  sand,  springs,  &c.,  an  omission 
which  will  be  explained  in  the  course  of  the  narrative.  In  my  search 
for  plants,  I  was  well  rewarded  at  this  place. 

With  the  change  in  the  geological  formation,  on  leaving  Fort 
Laramie,  the  whole  face  of  the  country  has  entirely  altered  its  ap- 
pearance. Eastward  of  that  meridian,  the  principal  objects  which 
strike  the  eye  of  a  traveller  are  the  absence  of  timber,  and  the  im- 
mense expanse  of  prairie,  covered  with  the  verdure  of  rich  grasses, 
and  highly  adapted  for  pasturage.  Wherever  they  are  not  disturbed 
by  the  vicinity  of  man,  large  herds  of  buffalo  give  animation  to  this 

5L  The  Laramie  Range  of  the  Rockies. 


country.  Westward  of  Laramie  river,  the  region  is  sandy  and  ap- 
parently sterile;  and  the  place  of  the  grass  is  usurped  by  the  artemisia 
and  other  odoriferous  plants,  to  whose  growth  the  sandy  soil  and  dry 
air  of  this  elevated  region  seem  highly  favorable. 

One  of  the  prominent  characteristics  in  the  face  of  the  country  is 
the  extraordinary  abundance  of  the  artemisias.  They  grow  every 
where,  on  the  hills,  and  over  the  river  bottoms,  in  tough,  twisted, 
wiry  clumps;  and,  wherever  the  beaten  track  was  left,  they  rendered 
the  progress  of  the  carts  rough  and  slow.  As  the  country  increased  in 
elevation  on  our  advance  to  the  west,  they  increased  in  size;  and  the 
whole  air  is  strongly  impregnated  and  saturated  with  the  odor  of 
camphor  and  spirits  of  turpentine  which  belongs  to  this  plant.  This 
climate  has  been  found  very  favorable  to  the  restoration  of  health, 
particularly  in  cases  of  consumption ;  and  possibly  the  respiration  of 
air,  so  highly  impregnated  by  aromatic  plants,  may  have  some  in- 

Our  dried  meat  had  given  out,  and  we  began  to  be  in  want  of 
food;  but  one  of  the  hunters  killed  an  antelope  this  evening,  which 
afforded  some  relief,  although  it  did  not  go  far  among  so  many 
hungry  men.  At  8  o'clock  at  night,  after  a  march  of  twenty-seven 
miles,  we  reached  our  proposed  encampment  on  the  Fer-a-Cheval, 
or  Horse  Shoe  creek.  Here  we  found  good  grass,  with  a  great  quan- 
tity of  prele,  which  furnished  good  food  for  our  tired  animals.  This 
creek  is  well  timbered,  principally  with  Hard  amere,  and,  with  the 
exception  of  Deer  creek,  which  we  had  not  yet  reached,  is  the  largest 
affluent  of  the  right  bank  between  Laramie  and  the  mouth  of  the 
Sweet  Water. 

]uly  23. — The  present  year  had  been  one  of  unparalleled  drought, 
and  throughout  the  country  the  water  had  been  almost  dried  up.  By 
availing  themselves  of  the  annual  rise,  the  traders  had  invariably  suc- 
ceeded in  carrying  their  furs  to  the  Missouri ;  but  this  season,  as  has 
already  been  mentioned,  on  both  forks  of  the  Platte  they  had  en- 
tirely failed.  The  greater  number  of  the  springs  and  many  of  the 
streams  which  made  halting  places  for  the  voyageurs,  had  been  dried 
up.  Every  where  the  soil  looked  parched  and  burnt,  the  scanty  yellow 
grass  crisped  under  the  foot,  and  even  the  hardiest  plants  were  de- 
stroyed by  want  of  moisture.  I  think  it  necessary  to  mention  this 
fact,  because  to  the  rapid  evaporation  in  such  an  elevated  region, 
nearly  5,000  feet  above  the  sea,  almost  wholly  unprotected  by  timber, 
should  be  attributed  much  of  the  sterile  appearance  of  the  country, 


in  the  destruction  of  vegetation,  and  the  numerous  saline  efflores- 
cences which  covered  the  ground.  Such  I  afterward  found  to  be  the 

I  was  informed  that  the  roving  villages  of  Indians  and  travellers 
had  never  met  with  difficulty  in  finding  an  abundance  of  grass  for 
their  horses;  and  now  it  was  after  great  search  that  we  were  able  to 
find  a  scanty  patch  of  grass,  sufficient  to  keep  them  from  sinking, 
and  in  the  course  of  a  day  or  two  they  began  to  suffer  very  much. 
We  found  none  to-day  at  noon,  and,  in  the  course  of  our  search  on 
the  Platte,  came  to  a  grove  of  cotton  wood,  where  some  Indian  village 
had  recently  encamped.  Boughs  of  the  cottonwood  yet  green  covered 
the  ground,  which  the  Indians  had  cut  down  to  feed  their  horses 
upon.  It  is  only  in  the  winter  that  recourse  is  had  to  this  means  of 
sustaining  them;  and  their  resort  to  it  at  this  time  was  a  striking 
evidence  of  the  state  of  the  country.  We  followed  their  example,  and 
turned  our  horses  into  a  grove  of  young  poplars.  This  began  to  pre- 
sent itself  as  a  very  serious  evil,  for  on  our  animals  depended  alto- 
gether the  further  prosecution  of  our  journey. 

Shortly  after  we  had  left  this  place,  the  scouts  came  galloping  in 
with  the  alarm  of  Indians.  We  turned  in  immediately  toward  the  river, 
which  here  had  a  steep  high  bank,  where  we  formed  with  the  carts  a 
very  close  barricade,  resting  on  the  river,  within  which  the  animals 
were  strongly  hobbled  and  picketed.  The  guns  were  discharged  and 
reloaded,  and  men  thrown  forward,  under  cover  of  the  bank,  in  the 
direction  by  which  the  Indians  were  expected.  Our  interpreter,  who, 
with  the  Indian,  had  gone  to  meet  them,  came  in  in  about  ten 
minutes,  accompanied  by  two  Sioux.  They  looked  sulky,  and  we 
could  obtain  from  them  only  some  confused  information.  We  learned 
that  they  belonged  to  the  party  which  had  been  on  the  trail  of  the 
emigrants,  whom  they  had  overtaken  at  Rock  Independence,  on  the 
Sweet  Water.  Here  the  party  had  disagreed,  and  came  nigh  fighting 
among  themselves.  One  portion  were  desirous  of  attacking  the 
whites,  but  the  others  were  opposed  to  it;  and  finally  they  had 
broken  up  into  small  bands  and  dispersed  over  the  country.  The 
greater  portion  of  them  had  gone  over  into  the  territory  of  the 
Crows,  and  intended  to  return  by  way  of  the  Wind  river  valley,  in 
the  hope  of  being  able  to  fall  upon  some  small  parties  of  Crow 
Indians.  The  remainder  were  returning  down  the  Platte  in  scattered 
parties  of  ten  and  twenty,  and  those  whom  we  had  encountered  be- 
longed to  those  who  had  advocated  an  attack  on  the  emigrants. 


Several  of  the  men  suggested  shooting  them  on  the  spot;  but  I 
promptly  discountenanced  any  such  proceeding.  They  further  in- 
formed me  that  buflfalo  were  very  scarce,  and  little  or  no  grass  to 
be  found.  There  had  been  no  rain,  and  innumerable  quantities  of 
grasshoppers  had  destroyed  the  grass.  This  insect  had  been  so  nu- 
merous since  leaving  Fort  Laramie,  that  the  ground  seemed  alive 
with  them;  and  in  walking,  a  little  moving  cloud  preceded  our  foot- 
steps. This  was  bad  news.  No  grass,  no  buffalo — food  for  neither 
horse  nor  man.  I  gave  them  some  plugs  of  tobacco  and  they  went 
off,  apparently  well  satisfied  to  be  clear  of  us;  for  my  men  did  not 
look  upon  them  very  lovingly,  and  they  glanced  suspiciously  at  our 
warlike  preparations,  and  the  little  ring  of  rifles  which  surrounded 
them.  They  were  evidently  in  a  bad  humor,  and  shot  one  of  their 
horses  when  they  had  left  us  a  short  distance. 

We  continued  our  march,  and  after  a  journey  of  about  twenty- 
one  miles,  encamped  on  the  Platte.  During  the  day,  I  had  occasion- 
ally remarked  among  the  hills  the  psomlea  esculenta,  the  bread  root 
of  the  Indians.  The  Sioux  use  this  root  very  extensively,  and  I  have 
frequently  met  with  it  among  them,  cut  into  thin  slices  and  dried.  In 
the  course  of  the  evening  we  were  visited  by  six  Indians,  who  told 
us  that  a  larger  party  was  encamped  a  few  miles  above.  Astronomi- 
cal observations  placed  us  in  longitude  106°  03'  40",  and  latitude 
42°  39' 25". 

We  made  the  next  day  twenty-two  miles,  and  encamped  on  the 
right  bank  of  the  Platte,  where  a  handsome  meadow  afforded  toler- 
ably good  grass.  There  were  the  remains  of  an  old  fort  here  [La- 
bonte's  Camp],  thrown  up  in  some  sudden  emergency,  and  on  the 
opposite  side  was  a  picturesque  bluff  of  ferruginous  sandstone.  There 
was  a  handsome  grove  a  little  above,  and  scattered  groups  of  trees 
bordered  the  river.  Buffalo  made  their  appearance  this  afternoon, 
and  the  hunters  came  in  shortly  after  we  had  encamped,  with  three 
fine  cows.  The  night  was  fine,  and  observations  gave  for  the  latitude 
of  the  camp,  42°  47' 40". 

]uly  25. — We  made  but  thirteen  miles  this  day,  and  encamped 
about  noon  in  a  pleasant  grove  on  the  right  bank.  Low  scaffolds 
were  erected,  upon  which  the  meat  was  laid,  cut  up  into  thin  strips, 
and  small  fires  kindled  below.  Our  object  was  to  profit  by  the 
vicinity  of  the  buffalo,  to  lay  in  a  stock  of  provisions  for  ten  or 
fifteen  days.  In  the  course  of  the  afternoon,  the  hunters  brought  in 
five  or  six  cows,  and  all  hands  were  kept  busily  employed  in  pre- 


paring  the  meat,  to  the  drying  of  which  the  guard  attended  during 
the  night.  Our  people  had  recovered  their  gaiety,  and  the  busy  fig- 
ures around  the  blazing  fires  gave  a  picturesque  air  to  the  camp.  A 
very  serious  accident  occurred  this  morning,  in  the  breaking  of  one 
of  the  barometers.  These  had  been  the  object  of  my  constant  solici- 
tude, and,  as  I  had  intended  them  principally  for  mountain  service, 
I  had  used  them  as  seldom  as  possible;  taking  them  always  down  at 
night,  and  on  the  occurrence  of  storms,  in  order  to  lessen  the  chances 
of  being  broken.  I  was  reduced  to  one,  a  standard  barometer  of 
Troughton's  construction.  This  I  determined  to  preserve,  if  possible. 
The  latitude  is  42°  51'  35",  and  by  a  mean  of  the  results  from  chro- 
nometer and  lunar  distances,  the  adopted  longitude  of  this  camp  is 
106°  25'  10". 

]uly  26. — Early  this  morning  we  were  again  in  motion.  We  had  a 
stock  of  provisions  for  fifteen  days,  carefully  stored  away  in  the 
carts,  and  this  I  resolved  should  only  be  encroached  upon  when  our 
rifles  should  fail  to  procure  us  present  support,  I  determined  to 
reach  the  mountains,  if  it  were  in  any  way  possible.  In  the  mean- 
time, buffalo  were  plenty.  In  six  miles  from  our  encampment, 
which,  by  way  of  distinction,  we  shall  call  Dried  Meat  camp,  we 
crossed  a  handsome  stream,  called  La  Fourche  Boisee  [Box  Elder 
Creek].  It  is  well  timbered,  and  among  the  flowers  in  bloom  on 
banks,  I  remarked  several  asters. 

Five  miles  further  we  made  our  noon  halt,  on  the  banks  of  the 
Platte,  in  the  shade  of  some  cottonwoods.  There  were  here,  as  gen- 
erally now  along  the  river,  thickets  of  hippophaoe,  the  grains  de 
bocuf  of  the  country.  They  were  of  two  kinds;  one  bearing  a  red 
berry,  (the  shepherdia  argentia  of  Nuttall;)  the  other  a  yellow  berry, 
of  which  the  Tartars  are  said  to  make  a  kind  of  rob  [rub]. 

By  a  meridian  observation,  the  latitude  of  the  place  was  42°  50' 
08".  It  was  my  daily  practice  to  take  observations  of  the  sun's  merid- 
ian altitude,  and  why  they  are  not  given,  will  appear  in  the  sequel. 
Eight  miles  further  we  reached  the  mouth  of  Deer  creek,  where  we 
encamped.  Here  was  an  abundance  of  rich  grass,  and  our  animals 
were  compensated  for  past  privations.  This  stream  was  at  this  time 
twenty  feet  broad,  and  well  timbered  with  cottonwood  of  an  un- 
common size.  It  is  the  largest  tributary  of  the  Platte,  between  the 
mouth  of  the  Sweet  Water  and  the  Laramie.  Our  astronomical 
observations  gave  for  the  mouth  of  the  stream  a  longitude  of  106° 
43' 15",  and  latitude  42°  52' 24". 


]uly  27. — Nothing  worthy  of  mention  occurred  on  this  day;  we 
travelled  later  than  usual,  having  spent  some  time  in  searching  for 
grass,  crossing  and  recrossing  the  river  before  we  could  find  a  suf- 
ficient quantity  for  our  animals.  Toward  dusk,  we  encamped  among 
some  artemisia  bushes,  two  and  three  feet  in  height,  where  some 
scattered  patches  of  short  tough  grass  afforded  a  scanty  supply.  In 
crossing,  we  had  occasion  to  observe  that  the  river  was  frequently 
too  deep  to  be  forded,  though  we  always  succeeded  in  finding  a 
place  where  the  water  did  not  enter  the  carts.  The  stream  continued 
very  clear,  with  two  or  three  hundred  feet  breadth  of  water,  and  the 
sandy  bed  and  banks  were  frequently  covered  with  large  round 
pebbles.  We  had  travelled  this  day  twenty-seven  miles.  The  main 
chain  of  the  Black  Hills  was  here  only  about  seven  miles  to  the 
south,  on  the  right  bank  of  the  river,  rising  abruptly  to  the  height 
of  eight  and  twelve  hundred  feet.  Patches  of  green  grass  in  the 
ravines  on  the  steep  sides,  marked  the  presence  of  springs,  and  the 
summits  were  clad  with  pines. 

]uly  28. — In  two  miles  from  our  encampment  we  reached  the 
place  where  the  regular  road  crosses  the  Platte.  There  was  two  hun- 
dred feet  breadth  of  water  at  this  time  in  the  bed,  which  has  a  vari- 
able width  of  eight  to  fifteen  hundred  feet.  The  channels  were 
generally  three  feet  deep,  and  there  were  large  angular  rocks  on  the 
bottom,  which  made  the  ford  in  some  places  a  little  difficult.  Even 
at  its  low  stages  this  river  cannot  be  crossed  at  random,  and  this  has 
always  been  used  as  the  best  ford.  The  low  stage  of  the  waters  the 
present  year  had  made  it  fordable  in  almost  any  part  of  its  course, 
where  access  could  be  had  to  its  bed. 

For  the  satisfaction  of  travellers,  I  will  endeavor  to  give  some 
description  of  the  nature  of  the  road  from  Laramie  to  this  point. 
The  nature  of  the  soil  may  be  inferred  from  its  geological  formation. 
The  limestone  at  the  eastern  limit  of  this  section,  is  succeeded  by 
limestone  without  fossils,  a  great  variety  of  sandstone,  consisting 
principally  of  red  sandstone  and  fine  conglomerates.  The  red  sand- 
stone is  argillaceous,  with  compact  white  gypsum  or  alabaster,  very 
beautiful.  The  other  sandstones  are  gray,  yellow,  and  ferruginous, 
sometimes  very  coarse.  The  apparent  sterility  of  the  country  must 
therefore  be  sought  for  in  other  causes  than  the  nature  of  the  soil. 
The  face  of  the  country  cannot  with  propriety  be  called  hilly.  It  is 
a  succession  of  long  ridges,  made  by  the  numerous  streams  which 
come  down  from  the  neighboring  mountain  range.  The  ridges  have 


an  undulating  surface,  with  some  such  appearance  as  the  ocean 
presents  in  an  ordinary  breeze. 

The  road  which  is  now  generally  followed  through  this  region  is, 
therefore,  a  very  good  one,  without  any  difficult  ascents  to  over- 
come. The  principal  obstructions  are  near  the  river,  where  the 
transient  waters  of  heavy  rains  have  made  deep  ravines  with  steep 
banks,  which  renders  frequent  circuits  necessary.  It  will  be  remem- 
bered that  wagons  pass  this  road  only  once  or  twice  a  year,  which 
is  by  no  means  sufficient  to  break  down  the  stubborn  roots  of  the 
innumerable  artemisia  bushes.  A  partial  absence  of  these  is  often 
the  only  indication  of  the  track,  and  the  roughness  produced  by 
their  roots  in  many  places  gives  the  road  the  character  of  one  newly 
opened  in  a  wooded  country.  This  is  usually  considered  the  worst 
part  of  the  road  east  of  the  mountains,  and  as  it  passes  through  an 
open  prairie  region,  may  be  much  improved,  so  as  to  avoid  the 
greater  part  of  the  inequalities  it  now  presents. 

From  the  mouth  of  the  Kanzas  to  the  Green  river  valley,  west  of 
the  Rocky  Mountains,  there  is  no  such  thing  as  a  mountain  road  on 
the  line  of  communication. 

We  continued  our  way,  and  four  miles  beyond  the  ford,  Indians 
were  discovered  again,  and  I  halted  while  a  party  were  sent  forward 
to  ascertain  who  they  were.  In  a  short  time  they  returned,  accompa- 
nied by  a  number  of  Indians  of  the  Oglallah  band  of  Sioux.  From 
them  we  received  some  interesting  information.  They  had  formed 
part  of  the  great  village,  which  they  informed  us  had  broken  up, 
and  was  on  its  way  home.^^  The  greater  part  of  the  village,  includ- 
ing the  Arapahoes,  Cheyennes,  and  Oglallahs,  had  crossed  the 
Platte  eight  or  ten  miles  below  the  mouth  of  the  Sweet  Water,  and 
were  now  behind  the  mountains  to  the  south  of  us,  intending  to 
regain  the  Platte  by  way  of  Deer  creek.  They  had  taken  this  unusual 
route  in  search  of  grass  and  game.  They  gave  us  a  very  discouraging 
picture  of  the  country.  The  great  drought,  and  the  plague  of  grass- 
hoppers, had  swept  it  so,  that  scarce  a  blade  of  grass  was  to  be  seen, 
and  there  was  not  a  buflfalo  to  be  found  in  the  whole  region.  Their 
people,  they  further  said,  had  been  nearly  starved  to  death,  and  we 
would  find  their  road  marked  by  lodges  which  they  had  thrown 

52.  Deleted  from  the  end  of  this  sentence  in  the  manuscript  draft:   "in  a 
very  miserable  cond." 


away  in  order  to  move  more  rapidly,  and  by  the  carcasses  of  the 
horses  which  they  had  eaten,  or  which  had  perished  by  starvation. 
Such  was  the  prospect  before  us. 

When  he  had  finished  the  interpretation  of  these  things,  Mr.  Bis- 
sonette  immediately  rode  up  to  me  and  urgently  advised  that  I 
should  entirely  abandon  the  further  prosecution  of  my  exploration. 
"Le  meilleure  avis  que  je  pourrais  vous  donner  c'est  de  virer  de 
suite."  "The  best  advice  I  can  give  you,  is  to  turn  back  at  once."  It 
was  his  own  intention  to  return,  as  we  had  now  reached  the  point  to 
which  he  had  engaged  to  attend  me.  In  reply,  I  called  up  my  men, 
and  communicated  to  them  fully  the  information  I  had  just  re- 
ceived. I  then  expressed  to  them  my  fixed  determination  to  proceed 
to  the  end  of  the  enterprise  on  which  I  had  been  sent,  but  as  the 
situation  of  the  country  gave  me  some  reason  to  apprehend  that  it 
might  be  attended  with  an  unfortunate  result  to  some  of  us,  I 
would  leave  it  optional  with  them  to  continue  with  me  or  to  return. 

Among  them  were  some  five  or  six  who  I  know  would  remain. 
We  had  still  ten  days'  provisions;  and,  should  no  game  be  found, 
when  this  stock  was  expended,  we  had  our  horses  and  mules,  which 
we  could  eat  when  other  means  of  subsistence  failed.  But  not  a  man 
flinched  from  the  undertaking.  "We'll  eat  the  mules,"  said  Basil 
Lajeunesse;  and  thereupon  we  shook  hands  with  our  interpreter 
and  his  Indians,  and  parted.  With  them  I  sent  back  one  of  my  men, 
Dumes,  whom  the  effects  of  an  old  wound  in  the  leg  rendered  in- 
capable of  continuing  the  journey  on  foot,  and  his  horse  seemed  on 
the  point  of  giving  out.  Having  resolved  to  disencumber  ourselves 
immediately  of  every  thing  not  absolutely  necessary  to  our  future  op- 
erations, I  turned  directly  in  toward  the  river,  and  encamped  on  the 
left  bank,  a  little  above  the  place  where  our  council  had  been  held, 
and  where  a  thick  grove  of  willows  offered  a  suitable  spot  for  the 
object  I  had  in  view. 

The  carts  having  been  discharged,  the  covers  and  wheels  were 
taken  off,  and,  with  the  frames,  carried  into  some  low  places  among 
the  willows,  and  concealed  in  the  dense  foliage  in  such  a  manner 
that  the  glitter  of  the  iron  work  might  not  attract  the  observation  of 
some  straggling  Indian.  In  the  sand  which  had  been  blown  up  into 
waves  among  the  willows,  a  large  hole  was  then  dug,  ten  feet  square 
and  six  deep.  In  the  meantime,  all  our  effects  had  been  spread  out 
upon  the  ground,  and  whatever  was  designed  to  be  carried  along 


with  us  separated  and  laid  aside,  and  the  remaining  part  carried  to 
the  hole  and  carefully  covered  up.^^  As  much  as  possible,  all  traces 
of  our  proceedings  were  obliterated,  and  it  wanted  but  a  rain  to 
render  our  cache  safe  beyond  discovery.  All  the  men  were  now  set 
at  work  to  arrange  the  pack-saddles  and  make  up  the  packs. 

The  day  was  very  warm  and  calm,  and  the  sky  entirely  clear,  ex- 
cept where,  as  usual  along  the  summits  of  the  mountainous  ridge 
opposite,  the  clouds  had  congregated  in  masses.  Our  lodge  had  been 
planted,  and,  on  account  of  the  heat,  the  ground  pins  had  been  taken 
out,  and  the  lower  part  slightly  raised.  Near  to  it  was  standing  the 
barometer,  which  swung  in  a  tripod  frame;  and  within  the  lodge, 
where  a  small  fire  had  been  built,  Mr.  Preuss  was  occupied  in  observ- 
ing the  temperature  of  boiling  water.  At  this  instant,  and  without 
any  warning  until  it  was  within  fifty  yards,  a  violent  gust  of  wind 
dashed  down  the  lodge,  burying  under  it  Mr.  Preuss^"*  and 
about  a  dozen  men,  who  had  attempted  to  keep  it  from  being 
carried  away.  I  succeeded  in  saving  the  barometer,  which  the  lodge 
was  carrying  off  with  itself,  but  the  thermometer  was  broken.  We 
had  no  others  of  a  high  graduation,  none  of  those  which  remained 
going  higher  than  135°  Fahrenheit.  Our  astronomical  observations 
gave  to  this  place,  which  we  named  Cache  camp,  a  longitude  of 
107°  15'55",  latitude  42°  50' 53". 

]uly  29. — All  our  arrangements  having  been  completed,  we  left 
the  encampment  at  7  o'clock  this  morning.  In  this  vicinity  the  ordi- 
nary road  leaves  the  Platte,  and  crosses  over  to  the  Sweet  Water 
river,  which  it  strikes  near  Rock  Independence.  Instead  of  following 
this  road,  I  had  determined  to  keep  the  immediate  valley  of  the 
Platte  so  far  as  the  mouth  of  the  Sweet  Water,  in  the  expectation 
of  finding  better  grass.  To  this  I  was  further  prompted  by  the  na- 
ture of  my  instructions.  To  Mr.  Carson  was  assigned  the  office  of 
guide,  as  we  had  now  reached  a  part  of  the  country  with  which,  or 
a  great  part  of  which,  long  residence  had  made  him  familiar.  In  a 
few  miles  we  reached  the  Red  Buttes,^^  a  famous  landmark  in  this 

53.  Deleted  at  this  point  in  the  manuscript  draft,  a  partial  sentence:  "Here 
were  deposited  the  harness  of  the  mules,  the  greatest  part  of  our  clothing,  a 
store  of  powder  and  lead.  .  .  ." 

54.  The  Preuss  diary  skips  from  27  to  31  July,  and  thus  we  are  deprived  of 
his  own  caustic  record  of  this  incident. 

55.  Another  well-known  landmark  on  the  trail  to  South  Pass,  about  fifteen 
miles  southwest  of  Casper,  Wyo.,  on  state  highway  220. 


country,  whose  geological  composition  is  red  sandstone,  limestone, 
and  calcareous  sandstone  and  puddingstone. 

The  river  here  cuts  its  way  through  a  ridge ;  on  the  eastern  side  of 
it  are  the  lofty  escarpments  of  red  argillaceous  sandstone,  which  are 
called  the  Red  Buttes.  In  this  passage  the  stream  is  not  much  com- 
pressed or  pent  up,  there  being  a  bank  of  considerable  though  vari- 
able breadth  on  either  side.  Immediately  on  entering  we  discovered 
a  band  of  buflfalo.  The  hunters  failed  to  kill  any  of  them,  the  leading 
hunter  being  thrown  into  a  ravine,  which  occasioned  some  delay, 
and  in  the  meantime  the  herd  clambered  up  the  steep  face  of  the 
ridge.  It  is  sometimes  wonderful  to  see  these  apparently  clumsy 
animals  make  their  way  up  and  down  the  most  rugged  and  broken 
precipices.  We  halted  to  noon  before  we  had  cleared  this  passage 
at  a  spot  twelve  miles  distant  from  Cache  camp,  where  we  found  an 
abundance  of  grass.  So  far  the  account  of  the  Indians  was  found  to 
be  false.  On  the  banks  were  willow  and  cherry  trees.  The  cherries 
were  not  yet  ripe,  but  in  the  thickets  were  numerous  fresh  tracks  of 
the  grizzly  bear,  which  are  very  fond  of  this  fruit.  The  soil  here  is 
red,  the  composition  being  derived  from  the  red  sandstone.  About 
seven  miles  brought  us  through  the  ridge,  in  which  the  course  of 
the  river  is  north  and  south.  Here  the  valley  opens  out  broadly,  and 
high  walls  of  the  red  formation  present  themselves  among  the  hills 
to  the  east.  We  crossed  here  a  pretty  little  creek,  an  affluent  of  the 
right  bank.  It  is  well  timbered  with  cottonwood  in  this  vicinity,  and 
the  absinthe  [Artemisia]  has  lost  its  shrub-like  character,  and  be- 
comes small  trees  six  and  eight  feet  in  height,  and  sometimes  eight 
inches  in  diameter.  Two  or  three  miles  above  this  creek  we  made 
our  encampment,  having  travelled  to-day  twenty-five  miles.  Our 
animals  fared  well  here,  as  there  is  an  abundance  of  grass.  The  river 
bed  is  made  up  of  pebbles,  and  in  the  bank  at  the  level  of  the  water 
is  a  conglomerate  of  coarse  pebbles  about  the  size  of  ostrich  eggs, 
and  which  I  remarked  in  the  banks  of  the  Laramie  fork.  It  is  over- 
laid by  a  soil  of  mixed  clay  and  sand,  six  feet  thick.  By  astronomical 
observations  our  position  is  in  longitude  107°  29'  06'',  and  latitude  42° 

July  30. — After  travelling  about  twelve  miles  this  morning,  we 
reached  a  place  where  the  Indian  village  had  crossed  the  river.  Here 
were  the  poles  of  discarded  lodges  and  skeletons  of  horses  lying 
about.  Mr.  Carson,  who  had  never  been  higher  up  than  this  point 
on  the  river,  which  has  the  character  of  being  exceedingly  rugged 


and  walled  in  by  precipices  above,  thought  it  advisable  to  camp 
near  this  place,  where  we  were  certain  of  obtaining  grass,  and  to- 
morrow make  our  crossing  among  the  rugged  hills  to  the  Sweet 
Water  river.  Accordingly  we  turned  back  and  descended  the  river 
to  an  island  near  by,  which  was  about  twenty  acres  in  size,  covered 
with  a  luxuriant  growth  of  grass.  The  formation  here  I  found 
highly  interesting.  Immediately  at  this  island  the  river  is  again  shut 
up  in  the  rugged  hills,  which  come  down  to  it  from  the  main  ridge 
in  a  succession  of  spurs  three  or  four  hundred  feet  high,  and  alter- 
nated with  green  level  prairillons  or  meadows,  bordered  on  the 
river  banks  with  thickets  of  willow,  and  having  many  plants  to  in- 
terest the  traveller.  The  island  lies  between  two  of  these  ridges,  three 
or  four  hundred  yards  apart,  of  which  that  on  the  right  bank  is  com- 
posed entirely  of  red  argillaceous  sandstone,  with  thin  layers  of 
fibrous  gypsum.  On  the  left  bank,  the  ridge  is  composed  entirely  of 
siliceous  puddingstone,  the  pebbles  in  the  numerous  strata  increas- 
ing in  size  from  the  top  to  the  bottom,  where  they  are  as  large  as  a 
man's  head.  So  far  as  I  was  able  to  determine,  these  strata  incline  to 
the  northeast,  with  a  dip  of  about  15°.  This  puddingstone  or  con- 
glomerate formation  I  was  enabled  to  trace  through  an  extended 
range  of  country,  from  a  few  miles  east  of  the  meridian  of  Fort 
Laramie  to  where  I  found  it  superimposed  on  the  granite  of  the 
Rocky  Mountains,  in  longitude  109°  30'.  From  its  appearance,  the 
main  chain  of  the  Laramie  mountain  is  composed  of  this  rock ;  and 
in  a  number  of  places  I  found  isolated  hills,  which  served  to  mark  a 
former  level,  which  had  been  probably  swept  away. 

These  conglomerates  are  very  friable  and  easily  decomposed;  and 
I  am  inclined  to  think  this  formation  is  the  source  from  which  was 
derived  the  great  deposite  of  sand  and  gravel  which  forms  the  sur- 
face rock  of  the  prairie  country  west  of  the  Mississippi. 

Crossing  the  ridge  of  red  sandstone,  and  traversing  the  little 
prairie  which  lies  to  the  southward  of  it,  we  made  in  the  afternoon 
an  excursion  to  a  place  which  we  have  called  the  Hot  Spring  Gate, 
This  place  has  much  the  appearance  of  a  gate,  by  which  the  Platte 
passes  through  a  ridge  composed  of  a  white  and  calcareous  sand- 
stone. The  length  of  the  passage  is  about  four  hundred  yards,  with  a 
smooth  green  prairie  on  either  side.  Through  this  place,  the  stream 
flows  with  a  quiet  current,  unbroken  by  any  rapid,  and  is  about  sev- 
enty yards  wide  between  the  walls,  which  rise  perpendicularly  from 
the  water.  To  that  on  the  right  bank,  which  is  the  lower,  the 


barometer  gave  a  height  of  three  hundred  and  sixty  feet.  Annexed  is 
a  view  of  this  place,  which  will  be  more  particularly  described 
hereafter,  as  we  passed  through  it  on  our  return. 

We  saw  here  numerous  herds  of  mountain  sheep,  and  frequently 
heard  the  volley  of  rattling  stones  which  accompanied  their  rapid  de- 
scent down  the  steep  hills.  This  was  the  first  place  at  which  we  had 
killed  any  of  these  animals;  and,  in  consequence  of  this  circumstance, 
and  of  the  abundance  of  these  sheep  or  goats  (for  they  are  called  by 
each  name),  we  gave  to  our  encampment  the  name  of  Goat  Island. 
Their  flesh  is  much  esteemed  by  the  hunters,  and  has  very  much  the 
flavor  of  the  Allegany  [sic]  mountain  sheep.  I  have  frequently  seen 
the  horns  of  this  animal  three  feet  long  and  seventeen  inches  in 
circumference  at  the  base,  weighing  eleven  pounds.  But  two  or  three 
of  these  were  killed  by  our  party  at  this  place,  and  of  these  the  horns 
were  small.  The  use  of  these  horns  seems  to  be  to  protect  the  animal's 
head  in  pitching  down  precipices  to  avoid  pursuing  wolves — their 
only  safety  being  in  places  where  they  cannot  be  followed.  The  bones 
are  very  strong  and  solid,  the  marrow  occupying  but  a  very  small  por- 
tion of  the  bone  in  the  leg,  about  the  thickness  of  a  rye  straw.  The  hair 
is  short,  resembling  the  winter  color  of  our  common  deer,  which 
it  nearly  approaches  in  size  and  appearance.  Except  in  the  horns,  it 
has  no  resemblance  whatever  to  the  goat.  The  longitude  of  this 
place,  resulting  from  chronometer  and  lunar  distances,  and  an  occul- 
tation  of  e  Arietis,  is  107°  37'  27",  and  the  latitude  is  42°  33'  27".  One 
of  our  horses,  which  had  given  out,  we  left  to  receive  strength  on  the 
island,  intending  to  take  her,  perhaps,  on  our  return. 

July  31. — This  morning  we  left  the  course  of  the  Platte,  to  cross 
over  to  the  Sweet  Water.  Our  way  for  a  few  miles  lay  up  the  sandy 
bed  of  a  dry  creek,  in  which  I  found  several  interesting  plants.  Leav- 
ing this  we  wound  our  way  to  the  summit  of  the  hills,  of  which  the 
peaks  are  here  eight  hundred  feet  above  the  Platte,  bare  and  rocky. 
A  long  and  gradual  slope  led  from  these  hills  to  the  Sweet  Water, 
which  we  reached  in  fifteen  miles  from  Goat  Island.  I  made  an 
early  encampment  here,  in  order  to  give  the  hunters  an  opportunity 
to  procure  a  supply  from  several  bands  of  buffalo,  which  made  their 
appearance  in  the  valley  near  by.  The  stream  here  is  about  sixty  feet 
wide,  and  at  this  time  twelve  to  eighteen  inches  deep,  with  a  very 
moderate  current. 

The  adjoining  prairies  are  sandy;  but  the  immediate  river  bottom 
is  good  soil,  which  afforded  an  abundance  of  soft  green  grass  to 







•  ^^ 






our  horses,  and  where  I  found  a  variety  of  interesting  plants,  which 
made  their  appearance  for  the  first  time.  A  rain  to-night  made  it  un- 
pleasantly cold ;  and  there  was  no  tree  here,  to  enable  us  to  pitch  our 
single  tent,  the  poles  of  which  had  been  left  at  Cache  camp.  We 
had,  therefore,  no  shelter  except  what  was  to  be  found  under  cover 
of  the  abs'mthe  bushes,  which  grew  in  many  thick  patches,  one  or 
two  and  sometimes  three  feet  high. 

August  1. — The  hunters  went  ahead  this  morning,  as  buffalo  ap- 
peared tolerably  abundant,  and  I  was  desirous  to  secure  a  small 
stock  of  provisions,  and  we  moved  about  seven  miles  up  the  valley, 
and  encamped  one  mile  below  Rock  Independence.  This  is  an  iso- 
lated granite  rock,  about  six  hundred  and  fifty  yards  long,  and  forty 
in  height.  Except  in  a  depression  of  the  summit,  where  a  little  soil 
supports  a  scanty  growth  of  shrubs,  with  a  solitary  dwarf  pine,  it  is 
entirely  bare.  Everywhere  within  six  or  eight  feet  of  the  ground, 
where  the  surface  is  sufficiently  smooth,  and  in  some  places  sixty  or 
eighty  feet  above,  the  rock  is  inscribed  with  the  names  of  travellers. 
Many  a  name  famous  in  the  history  of  this  country,  and  some  well- 
known  to  science,  are  to  be  found  mixed  among  those  of  the  traders 
and  of  travellers  for  pleasure  and  curiosity,  and  of  missionaries 
among  the  savages.  Some  of  these  have  been  washed  away  by  the 
rain,  but  the  greater  number  are  still  very  legible.^^  The  position  of 
this  rock  is  in  longitude  107°  56',  latitude  42°  29'  36".  We  remained 
at  our  camp  of  August  1st  until  noon  of  the  next  day,  occupied  in 
drying  meat.  By  observation,  the  longitude  of  the  place  is  107°  55', 
latitude  42°  29'  56". 

August  2. — Five  miles  above  Rock  Independence  we  came  to  a 
place  called  the  Devil's  Gate,  where  the  Sweet  Water  cuts  through 
the  point  of  a  granite  ridge.  The  length  of  the  passage  is  about  three 
hundred  yards,  and  the  width  thirty-five  yards.  The  walls  of  rock 
are  vertical,  and  about  four  hundred  feet  in  height;  and  the  stream 
in  the  gate  is  almost  entirely  choked  up  by  masses  which  have 
fallen  from  above.  In  the  wall,  on  the  right  bank,  is  a  dike  of  trap 
rock,  cutting  through  a  fine-grained  gray  granite.  Near  the  point  of 
this  ridge  crop  out  some  strata  of  the  valley  formation,  consisting  of 
a  grayish  micaceous  sandstone,  and  fine-grained  conglomerate,  and 
marl.  We  encamped  eight  miles  above  the  Devil's  Gate,  of  which 

56.  Independence  Rock,  on  Wyoming  state  highway  220,  is  now  protected 
from  the  further  carving  of  graffiti  by  a  strong  steel  fence. 



a  view  is  given  in  the  annexed  plate  [p.  248].'"  There  was  no  timber 
of  any  kind  on  the  river,  but  good  fires  were  made  of  drift  wood, 
aided  by  the  bois  de  vache. 

We  had  tonight  no  shelter  from  the  rain,  which  commenced  with 
squalls  of  wind  about  sunset.  The  country  here  is  exceedingly  pictur- 
esque. On  either  side  of  the  valley,  which  is  four  or  five  miles  broad, 
the  mountains  rise  to  the  height  of  twelve  and  fifteen  hundred,  or 
two  thousand  feet.  On  the  south  side,  the  range  appears  to  be  tim- 
bered, and  to-night  is  luminous  with  fires,  probably  the  work  of  the 
Indians,  who  have  just  passed  through  the  valley.  On  the  north, 
broken  and  granite  masses  rise  abruptly  from  the  green  sward  of  the 
river,  terminating  in  a  line  of  broken  summits.  Except  in  the  crevices 
of  the  rock,  and  here  and  there  on  a  ledge  or  bench  of  the  moun- 
tain, where  a  few  hardy  pines  have  clustered  together,  these  are  per- 
fectly bare  and  destitute  of  vegetation. 

Among  these  masses,  where  there  are  sometimes  isolated  hills  and 
ridges,  green  valleys  open  in  upon  the  river,  which  sweeps  the  base 
of  these  mountains  for  thirty-six  miles.  Everywhere  its  deep  verdure 
and  profusion  of  beautiful  flowers  is  in  pleasing  contrast  with  the 
sterile  grandeur  of  the  rock  and  the  barrenness  of  the  sandy  plain, 
which,  from  the  right  bank  of  the  river,  sweeps  up  to  the  mountain 
range  that  forms  its  southern  boundary.  The  great  evaporation  on 
the  sandy  soil  of  this  elevated  plain,  and  the  saline  efflorescences 
which  whiten  the  ground,  and  shine  like  lakes  reflecting  the  sun, 
make  a  soil  wholly  unfit  for  cultivation. 

August  3. — We  were  early  on  the  road  the  next  morning,  travel- 
ling along  the  upper  part  of  the  valley,  which  is  overgrown  with 
artemisia.  Scattered  about  on  the  plain  are  occasional  small  isolated 
hills.  One  of  these  which  I  examined,  about  fifty  feet  high,  con- 
sisted of  white  clay  and  marl,  in  nearly  horizontal  strata.  Several 
bands  of  buffalo  made  their  appearance  to-day,  with  herds  of  ante- 
lope; and  a  grizzly  bear — the  only  one  we  encountered  during  the 
journey — was  seen  scrambling  up  among  the  rocks.  As  we  passed 

57.  The  name  Devil's  Gate  apparently  was  quite  new.  Father  De  Smet 
went  to  the  mountains  in  1840  without  mentioning  it,  but  on  his  second 
journey,  in  a  letter  dated  16  Aug.  1841,  he  said  that  "travellers  have  named 
this  spot  the  Devil's  Entrance"  (quoted  from  anderson,  182n).  The  appella- 
tion, Devil's  Gate,  came  into  use  soon  after  the  appearance  of  JCF's  Report. 
The  view  of  the  formation  in  this  edition  (see  p.  248)  may  derive  from  a 
daguerreotype,  although  Preuss  did  not  think  that  JCF  had  produced  any 
good  plates  when  he  set  up  his  equipment  here. 


over  a  slight  rise  near  the  river,  we  caught  the  first  view  of  the  Wind 
River  mountains,  appearing  at  this  distance  of  about  seventy  miles, 
to  be  a  low  and  dark  mountainous  ridge.  The  view  dissipated  in  a 
moment  the  pictures  which  had  been  created  in  our  minds,  by  many 
descriptions  of  travellers,  who  have  compared  these  mountains  to  the 
Alps  in  Switzerland;  and  speak  of  the  glittering  peaks  which  rise 
in  icy  majesty  amidst  the  eternal  glaciers  nine  or  ten  thousand  feet 
into  the  region  of  eternal  snows.^^  The  nakedness  of  the  river  was 
relieved  by  groves  of  willows,  where  we  encamped  at  night,  after  a 
march  of  twenty-six  miles;  and  numerous  bright-colored  flowers  had 
made  the  river  bottom  look  gay  as  a  garden.  We  found  here  a  horse, 
which  had  been  abandoned  by  the  Indians,  because  his  hoofs  had 
been  so  much  worn  that  he  was  unable  to  travel;  and,  during  the 
night,  a  dog  came  into  the  camp. 

August  4.— Our  camp  was  at  the  foot  of  the  Granite  mountains, 
which  we  climbed  this  morning  to  take  some  barometrical  heights; 
and  here  among  the  rocks  was  seen  the  first  magpie.  On  our  return, 
we  saw  one  at  the  mouth  of  the  Platte  river.  We  left  here  one  of  our 
horses,  which  was  unable  to  proceed  farther.  A  few  miles  from  the 
encampment  we  left  the  river,  which  makes  a  bend  to  the  south,  and 
traversing  an  undulating  country,  consisting  of  a  grayish  micaceous 
sandstone  and  fine-grained  conglomerates,  struck  it  again,  and  en- 
camped after  a  journey  of  twenty-five  miles.  Astronomical  observa- 
tions placed  us  in  latitude  42°  32'  30". 

August  5.— The  morning  was  dark,  with  a  driving  rain,  and  dis- 
agreeably cold.  We  continued  our  route  as  usual,  but  the  weather 
became  so  bad  that  we  were  glad  to  avail  ourselves  of  the  shelter 
offered  by  a  small  island,  about  ten  miles  above  our  last  encamp- 
ment, which  was  covered  with  a  dense  growth  of  willows.  There 
was  fine  grass  for  our  animals,  and  the  timber  afforded  us  com- 
fortable protection  and  good  fires.  In  the  afternoon  the  sun  broke 

58.  Deleted  from  the  manuscript  draft  here:  "As  we  had  been  drawing 
nearer  to  the  mountains,  Mr.  Preuss  had  kept  constandy  before  his  mmd 
the  moment  in  which  he  had  first  seen  the  Alps;  when,  turning  a  corner  of  the 
Jura  between  Basle  and  Tololburn,  the  whole  ridge,  from  Mt.  Blanc  to  the 
Tyrolese  Alps,  burst  upon  his  view  in  the  glory  of  a  bright  sunshine,  and  his 
disappointment  |  in  seeing  the  Wind  River  Mountains]  was  proportionably 
great."  In  his  diary  entry  for  4  Aug.,  Preuss  mentions  his  experience  in  the 
Alps  and  is  predictably  disdainful  of  the  Rockies.  "An  American  has 
measured  them  to  be  as  high  as  25,000  feet.  I'll  be  hanged  if  they  are  half  as 
high,  yea,  if  they  are  8,000  feet  high"  (preuss,  33). 


through  the  clouds  for  a  short  time,  and  the  barometer  at  5  P.  M., 
was  at  23.713,  the  thermometer  at  60°,  with  the  wind  strong  from 
the  northwest.  We  availed  ourselves  of  the  fine  weather  to  make  ex- 
cursions in  the  neighborhood.  The  river,  at  this  place,  is  bordered 
by  hills  of  the  valley  formation.  They  are  of  moderate  height,  one  of 
the  highest  peaks  on  the  right  bank  being,  according  to  the  barom- 
eter, one  hundred  and  eighty  feet  above  the  river.  On  the  left  bank 
they  are  higher.  They  consist  of  a  fine  white  clayey  sandstone,  a 
white  calcareous  sandstone,  and  coarse  sandstone  or  puddingstone. 
August  6. — It  continued  steadily  raining  all  the  day;  but,  notwith- 
standing, we  left  our  encampment  in  the  afternoon.  Our  animals 
had  been  much  refreshed  by  their  repose,  and  an  abundance  of  rich, 
soft  grass,  which  had  been  much  improved  by  the  rains.  In  about 
three  miles,  we  reached  the  entrance  of  a  hanyon,  where  the  Sweet 
Water  issues  upon  the  more  open  valley  we  had  passed  over.  Im- 
mediately at  the  entrance,  and  superimposed  directly  upon  the 
granite  are  strata  of  compact,  calcareous  sandstone  and  chert,  alter- 
nating with  fine  white  and  reddish  white,  and  fine  gray  and  red 
sandstones.  These  strata  dip  to  the  eastward  at  an  angle  of  about  18°, 
and  form  the  western  limit  of  the  sandstone  and  limestone  forma- 
tions on  the  line  of  our  route.  Here  we  entered  among  the  primitive 
rocks.  The  usual  road  passes  to  the  right  of  this  place,  but  we  wound, 
or  rather  scrambled,  our  way  up  the  narrow  valley  for  several  hours. 
Wildness  and  disorder  were  the  character  of  this  scenery.  The  river 
had  been  swollen  by  the  late  rains,  and  came  rushing  through  with 
an  impetuous  current,  three  or  four  feet  deep,  and  generally  twenty 
yards  broad.  The  valley  was  sometimes  the  breadth  of  the  stream, 
and  sometimes  opened  into  little  green  meadows,  sixty  yards  wide, 
with  open  groves  of  aspen.  The  stream  was  bordered  throughout 
with  aspen,  beech,  and  willow;  and  tall  pines  grew  on  the  sides  and 
summits  of  the  crags.  On  both  sides,  the  granite  rocks  rose  precip- 
itously to  the  height  of  three  hundred  and  five  hundred  feet,  termi- 
nating in  jagged  and  broken  pointed  peaks;  and  fragments  of  fallen 
rock  lay  piled  up  at  the  foot  of  the  precipices.  Gneiss,  mica  slate,  and 
a  white  granite,  were  among  the  varieties  I  noticed.  Here  were  many 
old  traces  of  beaver  on  the  stream,  remnants  of  dams,  near  which 
were  lying  trees,  which  they  had  cut  down,  one  and  two  feet  in 
diameter.  The  hills  entirely  shut  up  the  river  at  the  end  of  about 
five  miles,  and  we  turned  up  a  ravine  that  led  to  a  high  prairie, 
which  seemed  to  be  the  general  level  of  the  country.  Hence,  to  the 


summit  of  the  ridge,  there  is  a  regular  and  very  gradual  rise.  Blocks 
of  granite  were  piled  up  at  the  heads  of  the  ravines,  and  small  bare 
knolls  of  mica  slate  and  milky  quartz  protruded  at  frequent  inter- 
vals on  the  prairie,  which  was  whitened  in  occasional  spots  with 
small  salt  lakes  where  the  water  had  evaporated,  and  left  the  bed 
covered  with  a  shining  incrustation  of  salt.  The  evening  was  very 
cold,  a  northwest  wind  driving  a  fine  rain  in  our  faces,  and  at  night- 
fall we  descended  to  a  little  stream  on  which  we  encamped,  about 
two  miles  from  the  Sweet  Water.  Here  had  recently  been  a  very 
large  camp  of  Snake  and  Crow  Indians,  and  some  large  poles  lying 
about  afforded  the  means  of  pitching  a  tent,  and  making  other 
places  of  shelter.  Our  fires  to-night  were  made  principally  of  the 
dry  branches  of  the  artemisia,  which  covered  the  slopes.  It  burns 
quickly,  with  a  clear  oily  flame,  and  makes  a  hot  fire.  The  hills  here 
are  composed  of  hard,  compact  mica  slate,  with  veins  of  quartz. 

August  7. — We  left  our  encampment  with  the  rising  sun.  As  we 
rose  from  the  bed  of  the  creek,  the  snow  line  of  the  mountains 
stretched  grandly  before  us,  the  white  peaks  glittering  in  the  sun. 
They  had  been  hidden  in  the  dark  weather  of  the  last  few  days,  and 
it  had  been  snowing  on  them,  while  it  rained  in  the  plains.  We 
crossed  a  ridge,  and  again  struck  the  Sweet  Water;  here,  a  beautiful 
swift  stream,  with  a  more  open  valley,  timbered  with  beech  and 
Cottonwood.  It  now  began  to  lose  itself  in  the  many  small  forks 
which  make  its  head,  and  we  continued  up  the  main  stream  until 
near  noon,  when  we  left  it  a  few  miles  to  make  our  noon  halt  on  a 
small  creek  among  the  hills,  from  which  the  stream  issues  by  a  small 
opening.  Within  was  a  beautiful  grassy  spot,  covered  with  an  open 
grove  of  large  beech  trees,  among  which  I  found  several  plants  that 
I  had  not  previously  seen. 

The  afternoon  was  cloudy,  with  squalls  of  rain;  but  the  weather 
became  fine  at  sunset,  when  we  again  encamped  on  the  Sweet 
Water,  within  a  few  miles  of  the  South  Pass.  The  country,  over 
which  we  have  passed  to-day,  consists  principally  of  the  compact 
mica  slate,  which  crops  out  on  all  ridges,  making  the  uplands  very 
rocky  and  slaty.  In  the  escarpments  which  border  the  creeks,  it  is 
seen  alternating  with  a  light-colored  granite,  at  an  inclination  of 
45°;  the  beds  varying  in  thickness  from  two  or  three  feet  to  six  or 
eight  hundred.  At  a  distance,  the  granite  frequently  has  the  appear- 
ance of  irregular  lumps  of  clay,  hardened  by  exposure.  A  variety  of 
asters  may  now  be  numbered  among  the  characteristic  plants,  and 


the  artemisia  continues  in  full  glory;  but  cacti  have  become  rare, 
and  mosses  begin  to  dispute  the  hills  with  them.  The  evening  was 
damp  and  unpleasant,  the  thermometer  at  10  o'clock  being  at  36°, 
and  the  grass  wet  with  a  heavy  dew.  Our  astronomical  observations 
placed  this  encampment  in  longitude  109°  51'  29'',  and  latitude 
42°  2/  15". 

Early  in  the  morning  we  resumed  our  journey,  the  weather  still 
cloudy,  with  occasional  rain.  Our  general  course  was  west,  as  I  had 
determined  to  cross  the  dividing  ridge  by  a  bridle  path  among  the 
broken  country  more  immediately  at  the  foot  of  the  mountains,  and 
return  by  the  wagon  road  two  and  a  half  miles  to  the  south  of  the 
point  where  the  trail  crosses. 

About  six  miles  from  our  encampment  brought  us  to  the  sum- 
mit.'^'' The  ascent  had  been  so  gradual  that,  with  all  the  intimate 
knowledge  possessed  by  Carson,  who  had  made  this  country  his 
home  for  seventeen  years,  we  were  obliged  to  watch  very  closely 
to  find  the  place  at  which  we  had  reached  the  culminating  point. 
This  was  between  two  low  hills,  rising  on  either  hand  fifty  or  sixty 
feet.  When  I  looked  back  at  them,  from  the  foot  of  the  immediate 
slope  on  the  western  plain,  their  summits  appeared  to  be  about  one 
hundred  and  twenty  feet  above.  From  the  impression  on  my  mind 
at  this  time,  and  subsequently  on  our  return,  I  should  compare  the 
elevation  which  we  surmounted  at  the  pass,  to  the  ascent  of  the 
Capitol  hill  from  the  avenue,  at  Washington.  It  is  difficult  for  me  to 
fix  positively  the  breadth  of  this  pass.  From  the  broken  ground 
where  it  commences,  at  the  foot  of  the  Wind  River  chain,  the  view 
to  the  southeast  is  over  a  champaign  country,  broken,  at  the  distance 
of  nineteen  miles,  by  the  Table  Rock ;  which,  with  the  other  isolated 
hills  in  its  vicinity,  seems  to  stand  on  a  comparative  plain.  This  I 
judged  to  be  its  termination,  the  ridge  recovering  its  rugged  charac- 
ter with  the  Table  Rock.  It  will  be  seen  that  it  in  no  manner  re- 
sembles the  places  to  which  the  term  is  commonly  applied — nothing 
of  the  gorge-like  character  and  winding  ascents  of  the  Allegany 
[sic^^  passes  in  America,  nothing  of  the  Great  St.  Bernard  and  Sim- 
plon  passes  in  Europe.  Approaching  it  from  the  mouth  of  the  Sweet 
Water,  a  sandy  plain,  one  hundred  and  twenty  miles  long,  conducts, 

59.  South  Pass  is  not  so  much  a  place  as  an  area.  JCF  is  crossing  it  at  the 
very  southern  extremity  of  the  Wind  River  chain.  Nfociern  travelers  who  pull 
off  of  Wyoming  state  highway  220  to  read  the  markers  erected  by  the  state, 
and  by  the  National  Park  Service,  are  seven  to  ten  miles  south  of  his  route. 


by  a  gradual  and  regular  ascent,  to  the  summit,  about  seven  thou- 
sand feet  above  the  sea ;  and  the  traveller,  without  being  reminded 
of  any  change  by  toilsome  ascents,  suddenly  finds  himself  on  the 
waters  which  flow  to  the  Pacific  ocean.  By  the  route  we  had 
travelled,  the  distance  from  Fort  Laramie  is  three  hundred  and 
twenty  miles,  or  nine  hundred  and  fifty  from  the  mouth  of  the 

Continuing  our  march,  we  reached,  in  eight  miles  from  the  pass, 
the  Little  Sandy,  one  of  the  tributaries  of  the  Colorado,  or  Green 
river  of  the  Gulf  of  California.^"  The  weather  had  grown  fine  dur- 
ing the  morning,  and  we  remained  here  the  rest  of  the  day,  to  dry 
our  baggage  and  take  some  astronomical  observations.  The  stream 
was  about  forty  feet  wide,  and  two  or  three  deep,  with  clear  water 
and  a  full  swift  current,  over  a  sandy  bed.  It  was  timbered  with  a 
growth  of  low,  bushy  and  dense  willows,  among  which  were  little 
verdant  spots,  which  gave  our  animals  fine  grass,  and  where  I  found 
a  number  of  interesting  plants.  Among  the  neighboring  hills  I  no- 
ticed fragments  of  granite  containing  magnetic  iron.  Longitude  of 
the  camp  was  110°  07'  46",  and  latitude  42°  2/  34". 

August  9. — We  made  our  noon  halt  today  on  Big  Sandy,  another 
tributary  of  Green  river.  The  face  of  the  country  traversed  was  of  a 
brown  sand  of  granite  materials,  the  detritus  of  the  neighboring 
mountains.  Strata  of  the  milky  quartz  cropped  out,  and  blocks  of 
granite  were  scattered  about  containing  magnetic  iron.  On  Sandy 
creek  the  formation  was  of  parti-colored  sand,  exhibited  in  escarp- 
ments fifty  to  eighty  feet  high.  In  the  afternoon  we  had  a  severe 
storm  of  hail,  and  encamped  at  sun  set  on  the  first  New  Fork  [East 
Fork  River].  Within  the  space  of  a  few  miles,  the  Wind  mountains 
supply  a  number  of  tributaries  to  Green  river,  which  are  all  called 
the  New  Forks.  Near  our  camp  were  two  remarkable  isolated  hills, 
one  of  them  sufficiently  large  to  merit  the  name  of  mountain.*^^  They 
are  called  the  Two  Buttes,  and  will  serve  to  identify  the  place  of  our 
encampment,  which  the  observations  of  the  evening  placed  in  longi- 

60.  Now  JCF  has  left  the  wagon  trail  and  struck  off  to  the  northwest,  to 
reconnoiter  the  Wind  River  Mountains.  His  camp  on  the  Little  Sandy,  ignor- 
ing his  usually  faulty  astronomical  observations,  is  probably  southeast  of 
Little  Prospect  Mountain. 

61.  But  now  called  Fremont  Butte,  and  located  about  seven  miles  south 
of  Boulder  Lake. 


tude  110°  29'  \r\  and  latitude  42°  42M6".  On  the  right  bank  of  the 
stream,  opposite  to  the  large  hill,  the  strata  which  are  displayed  con- 
sist of  decomposing  granite,  which  supplies  the  brown  sand  of 
which  the  face  of  the  country  is  composed  to  a  considerable  depth. 
August  10. — The  air  at  sunrise  is  clear  and  pure,  and  the  morning 
extremely  cold,  but  beautiful.  A  lofty  snow  peak  of  the  mountain 
is  glittering  in  the  first  rays  of  the  sun,  which  has  not  yet  reached  us. 
The  long  mountain  wall  to  the  east,  rising  two  thousand  feet 
abruptly  from  the  plain,  behind  which  we  see  the  peaks,  is  still  dark, 
and  cuts  clear  against  the  glowing  sky.  A  fog,  just  risen  from  the 
river,  lies  along  the  base  of  the  mountain.  A  little  before  sunrise, 
the  thermometer  was  at  35°,  and  at  sunrise  })1>^ .  Water  froze  last 
night,  and  fires  are  very  comfortable.  The  scenery  becomes  hourly 
more  interesting  and  grand,  and  the  view  here  is  truly  magnificent; 
but,  indeed,  it  needs  something  to  repay  the  long  prairie  journey  of 
a  thousand  miles.  The  sun  has  just  shot  above  the  wall,  and  makes 
a  magical  change.  The  whole  valley  is  glowing  and  bright,  and  all 
the  mountain  peaks  are  gleaming  like  silver.  Though  these  snow 
mountains  are  not  the  Alps,  they  have  their  own  character  of  gran- 
deur and  magnificence,  and  will  doubtless  find  pens  and  pencils  to  do 
them  justice.  In  the  scene  before  us  we  feel  how  much  wood  im- 
proves a  view.  The  pines  on  the  mountain  seemed  to  give  it  much 
additional  beauty.  I  was  agreeably  disappointed  in  the  character  of 
the  streams  on  this  side  of  the  ridge.  Instead  of  the  creeks  which 
description  had  led  me  to  expect,  I  find  bold  broad  streams,  with 
three  or  four  feet  water,  and  a  rapid  current.  The  fork  on  which  we 
are  encamped  is  upwards  of  a  hundred  feet  wide,  timbered  with 
groves  or  thickets  of  the  low  willow.  We  were  now  approaching  the 
loftiest  part  of  the  Wind  River  chain;  and  I  left  the  valley  a  few 
miles  from  our  encampment,  intending  to  penetrate  the  mountains 
as  far  as  possible  with  the  whole  party.  We  were  soon  involved  in 
very  broken  ground,  among  long  ridges  covered  with  fragments  of 
granite.  Winding  our  way  up  a  long  ravine,  we  came  unexpectedly 
in  view  of  a  most  beautiful  lake,  set  like  a  gem  in  the  mountains. 
The  sheet  of  water  lay  transversely  across  the  direction  we  had  been 
pursuing;  and,  descending  the  steep,  rocky  ridge,  where  it  was  nec- 
essary to  lead  our  horses,  we  followed  its  banks  to  the  southern  ex- 
tremity. Here  a  view  of  the  utmost  magnificence  and  grandeur  burst 
upon  our  eyes.  With  nothing  between  us  and  their  feet  to  lessen  the 


effect  of  the  whole  height,  a  grand  bed  of  snow-capped  mountains 
rose  before  us,  pile  upon  pile,  glowing  in  the  bright  light  of  an  Au- 
gust day.  Immediately  below  them  lay  the  lake  between  two  ridges 
covered  with  dark  pines,  which  swept  down  from  the  main  chain 
to  the  spot  where  we  stood.  Here,  where  the  lake  glittered  in  the 
open  sunlight,  its  banks  of  yellow  sand  and  the  light  foliage  of  aspen 
groves  contrasted  well  with  the  gloomy  pines.  "Never  before,"  said 
Mr,  Preuss,  "in  this  country  or  in  Europe,  have  I  seen  such  mag- 
nificent, grand  rocks."  I  was  so  much  pleased  with  the  beauty  of  the 
place,  that  I  determined  to  make  the  main  camp  here,  where  our 
animals  would  find  good  pasturage,  and  explore  the  mountains  with 
a  small  party  of  men.  Proceeding  a  little  further,  we  came  suddenly 
upon  the  outlet  of  the  lake  where  it  found  its  way  through  a  narrow 
passage  between  low  hills.  Dark  pines  which  overhung  the  stream 
and  masses  of  rock  where  the  water  foamed  along,  gave  it  much 
romantic  beauty.  Where  we  crossed,  which  was  immediately  at  the 
outlet,  it  is  two  hundred  and  fifty  feet  wide,  and  so  deep,  that  with 
difficulty  we  were  able  to  ford  it.  Its  bed  was  an  accumulation  of 
rocks,  boulders,  and  broad  slabs,  and  large  angular  fragments, 
among  which  the  animals  fell  repeatedly. 

The  current  was  very  swift,  and  the  water  cold  and  of  a  crystal 
purity.  In  crossing  this  stream,  I  met  with  a  great  misfortune  in  hav- 
ing my  barometer  broken.  It  was  the  only  one;  a  great  part  of  the 
interest  of  the  journey  for  me  was  in  the  exploration  of  these  moun- 
tains, of  which  so  much  had  been  said  that  was  doubtful  and  con- 
tradictory; and  now  their  snowy  peaks  rose  majestically  before 
me,  and  the  only  means  of  giving  them  authentically  to  science,  the 
object  of  my  anxious  solicitude  by  night  and  day,  was  destroyed.  We 
had  brought  this  barometer  in  safety  a  thousand  miles,  and  broke  it 
almost  among  the  snow  of  the  mountains.  The  loss  was  felt  by  the 
whole  camp — all  had  seen  my  anxiety,  and  aided  me  in  preserving 
it;  the  height  of  these  mountains,  considered  by  the  hunters  and 
traders  the  highest  in  the  whole  range,  had  been  a  theme  of  constant 
discussion  among  them;  and  all  had  looked  forward  with  pleasure 
to  the  moment  when  the  instrument,  which  they  believed  to  be  true 
as  the  sun,  should  stand  upon  the  summits,  and  decide  their  disputes. 
Their  grief  was  only  inferior  to  my  own. 

This  lake  is  about  three  miles  long,  and  of  very  irregular  width, 
and  apparently  great  depth,  and  is  the  head  water  of  the  third  New 
Fork,  a  tributary  to  Green  river,  the  Colorado  of  the  West.  On  the 



map  and  in  the  narrative,  I  have  called  it  Mountain  lake.  "  I  en- 
camped on  the  north  side,  about  three  hundred  and  fifty  yards  from 
the  outlet.  This  was  the  most  western  point  at  which  I  obtained 
astronomical  observations,  by  which  this  place,  called  Bernier's  en- 
campment, is  made  in  110°  37' 25"  west  longitude  from  Greenwich, 
and  latitude  42°  49'  49".  The  mountain  peaks,  as  laid  down,  were 
fixed  by  bearings  from  this  and  other  astronomical  points.  We  had 
no  other  compass  than  the  small  ones  used  in  sketching  the  country; 
but  from  an  azimuth,  in  which  one  of  them  was  used,  the  variation 
of  the  compass  is  18°  east.  The  correction  made  in  our  field  work  by 
the  astronomical  observations  indicates  that  this  is  a  very  correct 

As  soon  as  the  camp  was  formed,  I  set  about  endeavoring  to  repair 
my  barometer.  As  I  have  already  said,  this  was  a  standard  cistern 
barometer,  of  Troughton's  construction.  The  glass  cistern  had  been 
broken  about  midway;  but  as  the  instrument  had  been  kept  in  a 
proper  position,  no  air  had  found  its  way  into  the  tube,  the  end  of 
which  had  always  remained  covered.  I  had  with  me  a  number  of 
vials  of  tolerably  thick  glass,  some  of  which  were  of  the  same 
diameter  as  the  cistern,  and  I  spent  the  day  slowly  working  on  these, 
endeavoring  to  cut  them  of  the  requisite  length;  but  as  my  instru- 
ment was  a  very  rough  file,  I  invariably  broke  them.  A  groove  was 
cut  in  one  of  the  trees,  where  the  barometer  was  placed  during  the 
night,  to  be  out  of  the  way  of  any  possible  danger,  and  in  the  morn- 
ing I  commenced  again.  Among  the  powder  horns  in  the  camp,  I 
found  one  which  was  very  transparent,  so  that  its  contents  could  be 
almost  as  plainly  seen  as  through  glass.  This  I  boiled,  and  stretched 
on  a  piece  of  wood  to  the  requisite  diameter,  and  scraped  it  very 
thin,  in  order  to  increase  to  the  utmost  its  transparency.  I  then  se- 
cured it  firmly  in  its  place  on  the  instrument  with  strong  glue,  made 
from  a  bufifalo,  and  filled  it  with  mercury,  properly  heated.  A  piece 
of  skin,  which  had  covered  one  of  the  vials,  furnished  a  good  pocket, 
which  was  well  secured  with  strong  thread  and  glue,  and  then  the 
brass  cover  was  screwed  to  its  place.  The  instrument  was  left  some 

62.  In  the  1845  edition  of  his  report,  JCF  says  he  called  this  body  of  water 
Mountain  Lake  both  on  his  map  and  in  his  narrative.  None  of  his  maps 
carries  this  legend,  but  judging  from  the  description  of  the  lake  and  from  his 
position  at  the  time,  it  can  only  be  Boulder  Lake— lying  transversely  across 
his  route  between  T.  33  N.  and  T.  34  N.  It  is  about  seven  air-line  miles  east 
of  Pinedale,  Wyo. 


time  to  dry,  and  when  I  reversed  it,  a  few  hours  after,  I  had  the 
satisfaction  to  find  it  in  perfect  order;  its  indications  being  about  the 
same  as  on  the  other  side  of  the  lake,  before  it  had  been  broken.  Our 
success  in  this  Httle  incident  diffused  pleasure  throughout  the  camp, 
and  we  immediately  set  about  our  preparations  for  ascending  the 

As  will  be  seen,  on  reference  to  a  map,  on  this  short  mountain 
chain  are  the  head  waters  of  four  great  rivers  of  the  continent; 
namely,  the  Colorado,  Columbia,  Missouri,  and  Platte  rivers.  It  had 
been  my  design,  after  having  ascended  the  mountains,  to  continue 
our  route  on  the  western  side  of  the  range,  and  crossing  through  a 
pass  at  the  northwestern  end  of  the  chain,  about  thirty  miles  from 
our  present  camp,  return  along  the  eastern  slope,  across  the  heads 
of  the  Yellowstone  river,  and  join  on  the  line  to  our  station  of  Au- 
gust 7,  immediately  at  the  foot  of  the  ridge.  In  this  way  I  should 
be  enabled  to  include  the  whole  chain,  and  its  numerous  waters,  in 
my  survey;  but  various  considerations  induced  me,  very  reluctantly, 
to  abandon  this  plan. 

I  was  desirous  to  keep  strictly  within  the  scope  of  my  instructions, 
and  it  would  have  required  ten  or  fifteen  additional  days  for  the 
accomplishment  of  this  object;  our  animals  had  become  very  much 
worn  out  with  the  length  of  the  journey;  game  was  very  scarce;  and, 
though  it  does  not  appear  in  the  course  of  the  narrative,  as  I  have 
avoided  dwelling  upon  trifling  incidents  not  connected  with  the 
objects  of  this  expedition,  the  spirits  of  the  men  had  been  much 
exhausted  by  the  hardships  and  privations  to  which  they  had  been 
subjected.  Our  provisions  had  well  nigh  all  disappeared.  Bread  had 
been  long  out  of  the  question,  and  of  all  our  stock  we  had  remaining 
two  or  three  pounds  of  coffee,  and  a  small  quantity  of  macaroni, 
which  had  been  husbanded  with  great  care  for  the  mountain  expedi- 
tion we  were  about  to  undertake.  Our  daily  meal  consisted  of  dry 
buffalo  meat,  cooked  in  tallow;  and,  as  we  had  not  dried  this  with 
Indian  skill,  part  of  it  was  spoiled;  and  what  remained  of  good,  was 
as  hard  as  wood,  having  much  the  taste  and  appearance  of  so  many 
pieces  of  bark.  Even  of  this  our  stock  was  rapidly  diminishing  in  a 
camp  which  was  capable  of  consuming  two  buffaloes  in  every 
twenty-four  hours.  These  animals  had  entirely  disappeared,  and  it 
was  not  probable  that  we  should  fall  in  with  them  again  until  we 
returned  to  the  Sweet  Water. 

Our  arrangements  for  the  ascent  were  rapidly  completed;   we 


were  in  a  hostile  country,  which  rendered  the  greatest  vigilance  and 
circumspection  necessary.  The  pass  at  the  north  end  of  the  moun- 
tain was  generally  infested  by  Blackfeet,  and  immediately  opposite 
was  one  of  their  forts,  on  the  edge  of  a  little  thicket,  two  or  three 
hundred  feet  from  our  encampment.  We  were  posted  in  a  grove  of 
beech,  on  the  margin  of  the  lake,  and  a  few  hundred  feet  long,  with 
a  narrow  prairillon  on  the  inner  side,  bordered  by  the  rocky  ridge. 
In  the  upper  end  of  this  grove  we  cleared  a  circular  space  about  forty 
feet  in  diameter,  and  with  the  felled  timber  and  interwoven 
branches  surrounded  it  with  a  breastwork  five  feet  in  height.  A  gap 
was  left  for  a  gate  on  the  inner  side,  by  which  the  animals  were  to  be 
driven  in  and  secured,  while  the  men  slept  around  the  little  work. 
It  was  half  hidden  by  the  foliage;  and  garrisoned  by  twelve  resolute 
men,  would  have  set  at  defiance  any  band  of  savages  which  might 
chance  to  discover  them  in  the  interval  of  our  absence.  Fifteen  of  the 
best  mules,  with  fourteen  men,  were  selected  for  the  mountain 
party.  Our  provisions  consisted  of  dried  meat  for  two  days,  with 
our  little  stock  of  cofiFee  and  some  macaroni.  In  addition  to  the 
barometer  and  a  thermometer,  I  took  with  me  a  sextant  and  spy 
glass,  and  we  had,  of  course,  our  compasses.  In  charge  of  the  camp  I 
left  Bernier,  one  of  my  most  trustworthy  men,  who  possessed  the 
most  determined  courage. 

August  12. — Early  in  the  morning  we  left  the  camp,  fifteen  in 
number,  well  armed  of  course,  and  mounted  on  our  best  mules.  A 
pack  animal  carried  our  provisions,  with  a  coffee  pot  and  kettle, 
and  three  or  four  tin  cups.  Every  man  had  a  blanket  strapped  over 
his  saddle  to  serve  for  his  bed,  and  the  instruments  were  carried  by 
turns  on  their  backs.  We  entered  directly  on  rough  and  rocky 
ground;  and,  just  after  crossing  the  ridge,  had  the  good  fortune  to 
shoot  an  antelope.  We  heard  the  roar,  and  had  a  glimpse  of  a  water- 
fall as  we  rode  along;  and  crossing  in  our  way  two  fine  streams, 
tributary  to  the  Colorado,  in  about  two  hours'  ride  we  reached  the 
top  of  the  first  row  or  range  of  mountains.  Here,  again,  a  view  of 
the  most  romantic  beauty  met  our  eyes.  It  seemed  as  if,  from  the 
vast  expanse  of  uninteresting  prairie  we  had  passed  over,  nature  had 
collected  all  her  beauties  together  in  one  chosen  place.  We  were 
overlooking  a  deep  valley,  which  was  entirely  occupied  by  three 
lakes,  and  from  the  brink  the  surrounding  ridges  rose  precipitously 
five  hundred  and  a  thousand  feet,  covered  with  the  dark  green  of 
the  balsam  pine,  relieved  on  the  border  of  the  lake  with  the  light 


foliage  of  the  aspen.  They  all  communicated  with  each  other,  and 
the  green  of  the  waters,  common  to  mountain  lakes  of  great  depth, 
showed  that  it  would  be  impossible  to  cross  them.  The  surprise 
manifested  by  our  guides  when  these  impassable  obstacles  suddenly 
barred  our  progress,  proved  that  they  were  among  the  hidden 
treasures  of  the  place,  unknown  even  to  the  wandering  trappers  of 
the  region.  Descending  the  hill,  we  proceeded  to  make  our  way 
along  the  margin  of  the  southern  extremity.  A  narrow  strip  of  angu- 
lar fragments  of  rock  sometimes  afforded  a  rough  pathway  for  our 
mules,  but  generally  we  rode  along  the  shelving  side,  occasionally 
scrambling  up  at  a  considerable  risk  of  tumbling  back  into  the  lake. 

The  slope  was  frequently  60°;  the  pines  grew  densely  together, 
and  the  ground  was  covered  with  the  branches  and  trunks  of  trees. 
The  air  was  fragrant  with  the  odor  of  the  pines;  and  I  realized 
this  delightful  morning  the  pleasure  of  breathing  that  mountain  air 
which  makes  a  constant  theme  of  the  hunter's  praise,  and  which 
now  made  us  feel  as  if  we  had  all  been  drinking  some  exhilarating 
gas.  The  depths  of  this  unexplored  forest  were  a  place  to  delight 
the  heart  of  a  botanist.  There  was  a  rich  undergrowth  of  plants, 
and  numerous  gay-colored  flowers  in  brilliant  bloom.  We  reached 
the  outlet  at  length,  where  some  freshly  barked  willows  that  lay 
in  the  water  showed  that  beaver  had  been  recently  at  work.  There 
were  some  small  brown  squirrels  jumping  about  in  the  pines,  and  a 
couple  of  large  mallard  ducks  swimming  about  in  the  stream. 

The  hills  on  this  southern  end  were  low,  and  the  lake  looked  like 
a  mimic  sea,  as  the  waves  broke  on  the  sandy  beach  in  the  force  of 
a  strong  breeze.  There  was  a  pretty,  open  spot,  with  fine  grass  for 
our  mules,  and  we  made  our  noon  halt  on  the  beach,  under  the 
shade  of  some  large  hemlocks.  We  resumed  our  journey  after  a  halt 
of  about  an  hour,  making  our  way  up  the  ridge  on  the  western  side 
of  the  lake.  In  search  of  smoother  ground,  we  rode  a  little  inland; 
and,  passing  through  groves  of  aspen,  soon  found  ourselves  again 
among  the  pines.  Emerging  from  these,  we  struck  the  summit  of 
the  ridge  above  the  upper  end  of  the  lake. 

We  had  reached  a  very  elevated  point,  and  in  the  valley  be- 
low, and  among  the  hills,  were  a  number  of  lakes  at  different 
levels;  some  two  or  three  hundred  feet  above  others,  with  which 
they  communicated  by  foaming  torrents.  Even  to  our  great  height 
the  roar  of  the  cataracts  came  up,  and  we  could  see  them  leaping 
down  in  lines  of  snowy  foam.  From  this  scene  of  busy  waters,  we 


turned  abruptly  into  the  stillness  of  a  forest,  where  we  rode  among 
the  open  bolls  of  the  pines,  over  a  lawn  of  verdant  grass,  having 
strikingly  the  air  of  cultivated  grounds.  This  led  us,  after  a  time, 
among  masses  of  rock  which  had  no  vegetable  earth  but  in  hollows 
and  crevices,  though  still  the  pine  forest  continued.  Toward  evening, 
we  reached  a  defile,  or  rather  a  hole  in  the  mountains,  entirely  shut 
in  by  dark  pine-covered  rocks. 

A  small  stream,  with  a  scarcely  perceptible  current,  flowed 
through  a  level  bottom  of  perhaps  eighty  yards  width,  where  the 
grass  was  saturated  with  water.  Into  this  the  mules  were  turned,  and 
were  neither  hobbled  nor  picketed  during  the  night,  as  the  fine 
pasturage  took  away  all  temptation  to  stray;  and  we  made  our 
bivouac  in  the  pines.  The  surrounding  masses  were  all  of  granite. 
While  supper  was  being  prepared,  I  set  out  on  an  excursion  in  the 
neighborhood,  accompanied  by  one  of  my  men.  We  wandered 
about  among  the  crags  and  ravines  until  dark,  richly  repaid  for  our 
walk  by  a  fine  collection  of  plants,  many  of  them  in  full  bloom. 
Ascending  a  peak  to  find  the  place  of  our  camp,  we  saw  that  the 
little  defile  in  which  we  lay  communicated  with  the  long  green 
valley  of  some  stream,  which,  here  locked  up  in  the  mountains, 
far  away  to  the  south,  found  its  way  in  a  dense  forest  to  the  plains. 

Looking  along  its  upward  course,  it  seemed  to  conduct,  by  a 
smooth  gradual  slope,  directly  toward  the  peak,  which,  from  long 
consultation  as  we  approached  the  mountain,  we  had  decided  to  be 
the  highest  of  the  range.  Pleased  with  the  discovery  of  so  fine  a  road 
for  the  next  day,  we  hastened  down  to  the  camp,  where  we  arrived 
just  in  time  for  supper.  Our  table  service  was  rather  scant,  and  we 
held  the  meat  in  our  hands;  and  clean  rocks  made  good  plates,  on 
which  we  spread  our  macaroni.  Among  all  the  strange  places  on 
which  we  had  occasion  to  encamp  during  our  long  journey,  none 
have  left  so  vivid  an  impression  on  my  mind  as  the  camp  of  this 
evening.  The  disorder  of  the  masses  which  surrounded  us;  the  little 
hole  through  which  we  saw  the  stars  overhead;  the  dark  pines  where 
we  slept;  and  the  rocks  lit  up  with  the  glow  of  our  fires,  made  a 
night  picture  of  very  wild  beauty. 

August  13. — The  morning  was  bright  and  pleasant,  just  cool 
enough  to  make  exercise  agreeable,  and  we  soon  entered  the  defile  I 
had  seen  the  preceding  day.  It  was  smoothly  carpeted  with  a  soft 
grass,  and  scattered  over  with  groups  of  flowers,  of  which  yellow 
was  the  predominant  color.  Sometimes  we  were  forced  by  an  occa- 


sional  difficult  pass  to  pick  our  way  on  a  narrow  ledge  along  the  side 
of  the  defile,  and  the  mules  were  frequently  on  their  knees;  but  these 
obstructions  were  rare,  and  we  journeyed  on  in  the  sweet  morning 
air,  delighted  at  our  good  fortune  in  having  found  such  a  beautiful 
entrance  to  the  mountains.  This  road  continued  for  about  three 
miles,  when  we  suddenly  reached  its  termination  in  one  of  the  grand 
views  which,  at  every  turn,  meet  the  traveller  in  this  magnificent  re- 
gion. Here  the  defile  up  which  we  had  travelled,  opened  out  into  a 
small  lawn,  where,  in  a  little  lake,  the  stream  had  its  source. 

There  were  some  fine  asters  in  bloom,  but  all  the  flowering  plants 
appeared  to  seek  the  shelter  of  the  rocks,  and  to  be  of  lower  growth 
than  below,  as  if  they  loved  the  warmth  of  the  soil,  and  kept  out  of 
the  way  of  the  winds.  Immediately  at  our  feet  a  precipitous  descent 
led  to  a  confusion  of  defiles,  and  before  us  rose  the  mountains  as  we 
have  represented  them  in  the  annexed  view.  It  is  not  by  the  splendor 
of  far  off  views,  which  have  lent  such  a  glory  to  the  Alps,  that  these 
impress  the  mind;  but  by  a  gigantic  disorder  of  enormous  masses, 
and  a  savage  sublimity  of  naked  rock,  in  wonderful  contrast  with 
innumerable  green  spots  of  a  rich  floral  beauty,  shut  up  in  their 
stern  recesses.  Their  wildness  seems  well  suited  to  the  character  of 
the  people  who  inhabit  the  country. 

I  determined  to  leave  our  animals  here,  and  make  the  rest  of  our 
way  on  foot.  The  peak  appeared  so  near,  that  there  was  no  doubt  of 
our  returning  before  night,  and  a  few  men  were  left  in  charge  of  the 
mules,  with  our  provisions  and  blankets.  We  took  with  us  nothing 
but  our  arms  and  instruments,  and  as  the  day  had  become  warm,  the 
greater  part  left  our  coats.  Having  made  an  early  dinner,  we  started 
again.  We  were  soon  involved  in  the  most  ragged  precipices,  nearing 
the  central  chain  very  slowly,  and  rising  but  little.  The  first  ridge  hid 
a  succession  of  others,  and  when  with  great  fatigue  and  difficulty  we 
had  climbed  up  five  hundred  feet,  it  was  but  to  make  an  equal  de- 
scent on  the  other  side;  all  these  intervening  places  were  filled  with 
small  deep  lakes,  which  met  the  eye  in  every  direction,  descending 
from  one  level  to  another,  sometimes  under  bridges  formed  by  huge 
fragments  of  granite,  beneath  which  was  heard  the  roar  of  the  water. 
These  constantly  obstructed  our  path,  forcing  us  to  make  long  de- 
tours; frequently  obliged  to  retrace  our  steps,  and  frequently  falling 
among  the  rocks.  Maxwell  was  precipitated  toward  the  face  of  a 
precipice,  and  saved  himself  from  going  over  by  throwing  himself 
flat  on  the  ground.  We  clambered  on,  always  expecting,  with  every 


ridge  that  we  crossed,  to  reach  the  foot  of  the  peaks,  and  always  dis- 
appointed, until  about  4  o'clock,  when,  pretty  well  worn  out,  we 
reached  the  shore  of  a  little  lake,  in  which  there  was  a  rocky  island, 
and  from  which  we  obtained  the  view  given  in  the  frontispiece 
[p.  264].  We  remained  here  a  short  time  to  rest,  and  continued  on 
around  the  lake,  which  had  in  some  places  a  beach  of  white  sand, 
and  in  others  was  bound  with  rocks,  over  which  the  way  was  diffi- 
cult and  dangerous,  as  the  water  from  innumerable  springs  made 
them  very  slippery. 

By  the  time  we  had  reached  the  further  side  of  the  lake,  we  found 
ourselves  all  exceedingly  fatigued,  and  much  to  the  satisfaction  of 
the  whole  party,  we  encamped.  The  spot  we  had  chosen  was  a  broad 
flat  rock,  in  some  measure  protected  from  the  winds  by  the  sur- 
rounding crags,  and  the  trunks  of  fallen  pines  afforded  us  bright 
fires.  Near  by  was  a  foaming  torrent,  which  tumbled  into  the  little 
lake  about  one  hundred  and  fifty  feet  below  us,  and  which,  by  way 
of  distinction,  we  have  called  Island  lake.^''  We  had  reached  the  up- 
per limit  of  the  piney  region ;  as,  above  this  point,  no  tree  was  to  be 
seen,  and  patches  of  snow  lay  everywhere  around  us  on  the  cold  sides 
of  the  rocks.  The  flora  of  the  region  we  had  traversed  since  leaving 
our  mules  was  extremely  rich  and,  among  the  characteristic  plants, 
the  scarlet  flowers  of  the  dodecatheon  detitatum  everywhere  met  the 
eye  in  great  abundance.  A  small  green  ravine,  on  the  edge  of  which 
we  were  encamped,  was  filled  with  a  profusion  of  alpine  plants  in 
brillant  bloom.*'''  From  barometrical  observations,  made  during  our 
three  days'  sojourn  at  this  place,  its  elevation  above  the  Gulf  of 
Mexico  is  10,000  feet.**-^  During  the  day,  we  had  seen  no  sign  of  ani- 
mal life;  but  among  the  rocks  here,  we  heard  what  was  supposed  to 

63.  Island  Lake  is  about  eighteen  air-line  miles  northeast  of  Pinedale.  When 
the  senior  editor  followed  JCF's  route  in  May  and  June  1967,  he  left  his 
(JCF's)  trail  at  Boulder  Lake,  bonney  &  bonney  take  up  the  trail  here  at 
Island  Lake,  but  his  route  between  those  two  lakes  is  still  conjectural.  The 
current  map  of  the  Bridger  Division,  Bridger  National  Forest,  shows  several 
trails  in  the  area  between  the  two  lakes,  the  most  direct  passing  those  lakes 
now  named  George,  Horseshoe,  Barnes,  Spruce,  Chain,  Polecreek,  Nelson,  and 
Seneca.  Here  JCF  is  traveling  almost  due  north.  From  Island  Lake  to  the 
peak  which  he  climbs,  we  rely  mainly  on  the  observations  of  the  Bonneys. 

64.  Added  to  this  sentence  in  the  manuscript  draft:  "among  which  a 
beautiful  auricula  delighted  us  with  the  associations  of  civilization." 

65.  Deleted  from  the  end  of  this  sentence  in  the  manuscript  draft:  "We 
had  nothing  to  eat  tonight." 







be  the  bleat  of  a  young  goat,  which  we  searched  for  with  hungry 
activity,  and  found  to  proceed  from  a  small  animal  of  a  gray  color, 
with  short  ears  and  no  tail ;  probably  the  Siberian  squirrel.  We  saw  a 
considerable  number  of  them,  and  with  the  exception  of  a  small  bird 
like  a  sparrow,  it  is  the  only  inhabitant  of  this  elevated  part  of  the 
mountains.  On  our  return,  we  saw,  below  this  lake,  large  flocks  of 
the  mountain  goat.  We  had  nothing  to  eat  to-night.  Lajeunesse,  with 
several  others,  took  their  guns,  and  sallied  out  in  search  of  a  goat; 
but  returned  unsuccessful.  At  sunset,  the  barometer  stood  at  20.522; 
the  attached  thermometer  50°.  Here  we  had  the  misfortune  to  break 
our  thermometer,  having  now  only  that  attached  to  the  barometer. 
I  was  taken  ill  shortly  after  we  had  encamped,  and  continued  so 
until  late  in  the  night,  with  violent  headache  and  vomiting.  This  was 
probably  caused  by  the  excessive  fatigue  I  had  undergone,  and  want 
of  food,  and  perhaps  also  in  some  measure,  by  the  rarity  of  the  air. 
The  night  was  cold,  as  a  violent  gale  from  the  north  had  sprung  up 
at  sunset,  which  entirely  blew  away  the  heat  of  the  fires.  The  cold, 
and  our  granite  beds,  had  not  been  favorable  to  sleep,  and  we  were 
glad  to  see  the  face  of  the  sun  in  the  morning.  Not  being  delayed  by 
any  preparation  for  breakfast,  we  set  out  immediately. 

On  every  side  as  we  advanced  was  heard  the  roar  of  waters,  and 
of  a  torrent,  which  we  followed  up  a  short  distance,  until  it  ex- 
panded into  a  lake  about  one  mile  in  length.  On  the  northern  side 
of  the  lake  was  a  bank  of  ice,  or  rather  of  snow,  covered  with  a  crust 
of  ice.  Carson  had  been  our  guide  into  the  mountains,  and  agreeably 
to  his  advice,  we  left  this  litde  valley,  and  took  to  the  ridges  again ; 
which  we  found  extremely  broken,  and  where  we  were  again  in- 
volved among  precipices.  Here  were  ice  fields,  among  which  we 
were  all  dispersed,  seeking  each  the  best  path  to  ascend  the  peak.  Mr. 
Preuss  attempted  to  walk  along  the  upper  edge  of  one  of  these  fields, 
which  sloped  away  at  an  angle  of  about  twenty  degrees;  but  his  feet 
slipped  from  under  him,  and  he  went  plunging  down  the  plane.  A 
few  hundred  feet  below,  at  the  bottom,  were  some  fragments  of 
sharp  rock,  on  which  he  landed ;  and  though  he  turned  a  couple  of 
somersets,  fortunately  received  no  injury  beyond  a  few  bruises.  Two 
of  the  men,  Clement  Lambert  and  Descoteaux,*'*'  had  been  taken  ill. 

66.  This  man,  called  de  Couteau  in  preuss,  44,  does  not  appear  in  the 
vouchers  or  in  JCF's  roster  of  the  party.  He  does  appear,  however,  in  a  passage 
deleted  from  the  manuscript  draft  (note  8,  above).  A  man  of  this  name  took 
passage  to  St.  Louis  with  Maximilian,  Prince  of  Wied-Neuwied,  at  Fort  Pierre 


and  laid  down  on  the  rocks  a  short  distance  below;  and  at  this  point 
I  was  attacked  with  headache  and  giddiness,  accompanied  by  vomit- 
ing, as  on  the  day  before.  Finding  myself  unable  to  proceed,  I  sent 
the  barometer  over  to  Mr.  Preuss,  who  was  in  a  gap  two  or  three 
hundred  yards  distant,  desiring  him  to  reach  the  peak,  if  possible, 
and  take  an  observation  there.*^^  He  found  himself  unable  to  proceed 
further  in  that  direction,  and  took  an  observation,  where  the  barom- 
eter stood  at  19.401 ;  attached  thermometer  50°,  in  the  gap.  Carson, 
who  had  gone  over  to  him,  succeeded  in  reaching  one  of  the  snowy 
summits  of  the  main  ridge,  whence  he  saw  the  peak  towards  which 
all  our  efforts  had  been  directed,  towering  eight  or  ten  hundred  feet 
into  the  air  above  him.  In  the  mean  time,  finding  myself  grow  rather 
worse  than  better,  and  doubtful  how  far  my  strength  would  carry 
me,  I  sent  Basil  Lajeunesse,  with  four  men,  iDack  to  the  place  where 
the  mules  had  been  left. 

We  were  now  better  acquainted  with  the  topography  of  the  coun- 
try, and  I  directed  him  to  bring  back  with  him,  if  it  were  in  any  way 
possible,  four  or  five  mules,  with  provisions  and  blankets.  With  me 
were  Maxwell  and  Ayot;  and  after  we  had  remained  nearly  an  hour 
on  the  rock,  it  became  so  unpleasantly  cold,  though  the  day  was 
bright,  that  we  set  out  on  our  return  to  the  camp,  at  which  we  all 
arrived  safely,  straggling  in  one  after  the  other.  I  continued  ill  dur- 
ing the  afternoon,  but  became  better  towards  sundown,  when  my 
recovery  was  completed  by  the  appearance  of  Basil  and  four  men, 
all  mounted.  The  men  who  had  gone  with  him  had  been  too  much 
fatigued  to  return,  and  were  relieved  by  those  in  charge  of  the 
horses;  but  in  his  powers  of  endurance  Basil  resembled  more  a 
mountain  goat  than  a  man.  They  brought  blankets  and  provisions, 
and  we  enjoyed  well  our  dried  meat  and  a  cup  of  good  coffee.  We 
rolled  ourselves  up  in  our  blankets,  and  with  our  feet  turned  to  a 
blazing  fire,  slept  soundly  until  morning. 

August  15. — It  had  been  supposed  that  we  had  finished  with  the 
mountains;  and  the  evening  before,  it  had  been  arranged  that  Car- 

in  1834,  and  brought  a  shipment  of  beaver  skins  down  to  Liberty,  Mo.  ( Maxi- 
milian, 24:92-93,  117).  In  late  1842  or  early  1843,  a  man  referred  to  as 
Michael  Des  Coteaux  was  wounded  in  a  fray  at  Long  Point,  sometimes  called 
McKenzie's  Point,  near  the  mouth  of  the  Cheyenne  River  (A.  R.  Bonis  to 
Andrew  Drips,  18  April  1843,  MoSHi — Drips  Papers). 

67.  See  preuss,  39-45,  for  his  own  account  of  the  climb.  He  is  sardonic, 
as  usual. 


son  should  set  out  at  daylight,  and  return  to  breakfast  at  the  Camp 
of  the  Mules,  taking  with  him  all  but  four  or  five  men,  who  were  to 
stay  with  me  and  bring  back  the  mules  and  instruments.  Accordingly, 
at  the  break  of  day  they  set  out.  With  Mr.  Preuss  and  myself  re- 
mained Basil  Lajeunesse,  Clement  Lambert,  Janisse,  and  Descoteaux. 
When  we  had  secured  strength  for  the  day  by  a  hearty  breakfast,  we 
covered  what  remained,  which  was  enough  for  one  meal,  with  rocks, 
in  order  that  it  might  be  safe  from  any  marauding  bird;  and,  sad- 
dling our  mules,  turned  our  faces  once  more  towards  the  peaks.  This 
time  we  determined  to  proceed  quietly  and  cautiously,  deliberately 
resolved  to  accomplish  our  object  if  it  were  within  the  compass  of 
human  means.  We  were  of  opinion  that  a  long  defile  which  lay  to 
the  left  of  yesterday's  route  would  lead  us  to  the  foot  of  the  main 
peak.*^^  Our  mules  had  been  refreshed  by  the  fine  grass  in  the  little  ra- 
vine at  the  island  camp,  and  we  intended  to  ride  up  the  defile  as  far  as 
possible,  in  order  to  husband  our  strength  for  the  main  ascent.  Though 
this  was  a  fine  passage,  still  it  was  a  defile  of  the  most  rugged  moun- 
tains known,  and  we  had  many  a  rough  and  steep  slippery  place  to 
cross  before  reaching  the  end.  In  this  place  the  sun  rarely  shone, 
snow  lay  along  the  border  of  the  small  stream  which  flowed  through 
it,  and  occasional  icy  passages  made  the  footing  of  the  mules  very 
insecure,  and  the  rocks  and  ground  were  moist  with  the  trickling 
waters  in  this  spring  of  mighty  rivers.  We  soon  had  the  satisfaction 
to  find  ourselves  riding  along  the  huge  wall  which  forms  the  central 
summits  of  the  chain.  There  at  last  it  rose  by  our  sides,  a  nearly  per- 
pendicular wall  of  granite,  terminating  2,000  to  3,000  feet  above  our 
heads  in  a  serrated  line  of  broken,  jagged  cones.^''  We  rode  on 
until  we  came  almost  immediately  below  the  main  peak,  which  I 
denominated  the  Snow  Peak,  as  it  exhibited  more  snow  to  the  eye 
than  any  of  the  neighboring  summits.  Here  were  three  small  lakes 
[Titcomb  Lakes]  of  a  green  color,  each  of  perhaps  a  thousand  yards 
in  diameter,  and  apparently  very  deep.  These  lay  in  a  kind  of  chasm; 
and,  according  to  the  barometer,  we  had  attained  but  a  few  hundred 
feet  above  the  Island  lake.  The  barometer  here  stood  at  20.450,  at- 
tached thermometer  70°. 

68.  "The  climber  who  will  leave  Island  Lake  and  start  for  Woodrow  Wil- 
son [Peak]  can  follow  this  route  all  the  way  up  the  Titcomb  Valley"  (bon- 

NEY  &  BONNEY,  98). 

69.  The  west  wall  of  Fremont,  Sacagawea,  and   Helen   peaks   (bonney  & 
BONNEY,  98). 



We  managed  to  get  our  mules  up  to  a  little  bench  about  a  hun- 
dred feet  above  the  lakes,  where  there  was  a  patch  of  good  grass,  and 
turned  them  loose  to  graze.  During  our  rough  ride  to  this  place, 
they  had  exhibited  a  wonderful  surefootedness.  Parts  of  the  defile 
were  filled  with  angular,  sharp  fragments  of  rock,  three  or  four  and 
eight  or  ten  feet  cube;  and  among  these  they  had  worked  their  way, 
leaping  from  one  narrow  point  to  another,  rarely  making  a  false 
step,  and  giving  us  no  occasion  to  dismount.  Having  divested  our- 
selves of  every  unnecessary  encumbrance,  we  commenced  the  ascent. 
This  time,  like  experienced  travellers,  we  did  not  press  ourselves,  but 
climbed  leisurely,  sitting  down  so  soon  as  we  found  breath  begin- 
ning to  fail.  At  intervals  we  reached  places  where  a  number  of 
springs  gushed  from  the  rocks,  and  about  1,800  feet  above  the  lakes 
came  to  the  snow  line.  From  this  point  our  progress  was  uninter- 
rupted climbing.  Hitherto  I  had  worn  a  pair  of  thick  moccasins, 
with  soles  of  parfleche;  but  here  I  put  on  a  light  thin  pair,  which  I 
had  brought  for  the  purpose,  as  now  the  use  of  our  toes  became 
necessary  to  a  further  advance.  I  availed  myself  of  a  sort  of  comb  of 
the  mountain,  which  stood  against  the  wall  like  a  buttress,  and 
which  the  wind  and  the  solar  radiation,  joined  to  the  steepness  of  the 
smooth  rock,  had  kept  almost  entirely  free  from  snow.  Up  this  I 
made  my  way  rapidly.  Our  cautious  method  of  advancing  in  the 
outset  had  spared  my  strength;  and,  with  the  exception  of  a  slight 
disposition  to  headache,  I  felt  no  remains  of  yesterday's  illness.  In  a 
few  minutes  we  reached  a  point  where  the  buttress  was  overhanging, 
and  there  was  no  other  way  of  surmounting  the  difficulty  than  by 
passing  around  one  side  of  it,  which  was  the  face  of  a  vertical  preci- 
pice of  several  hundred  feet. 

Putting  hands  and  feet  in  the  crevices  between  the  blocks,  I  suc- 
ceeded in  getting  over  it,  and,  when  I  reached  the  top,  found  my 
companions  in  a  small  valley  below.  Descending  to  them,  we  con- 
tinued climbing,  and  in  a  short  time  reached  the  crest.  I  sprang  upon 
the  summit,  and  another  step  would  have  precipitated  me  into  an 
immense  snow  field  five  hundred  feet  below.  To  the  edge  of  this 
field  was  a  sheer  icy  precipice;  and  then,  with  a  gradual  fall,  the 
field  sloped  of?  for  about  a  mile,  until  it  struck  the  foot  of  another 
lower  ridge.  I  stood  on  a  narrow  crest,  about  three  feet  in  width, 
with  an  inclination  of  about  20°  N.  51°  E.  As  soon  as  I  had  gratified 
the  first  feelings  of  curiosity  I  descended,  and  each  man  ascended  in 
his  turn,  for  I  would  only  allow  one  at  a  time  to  mount  the  unstable 


and  precarious  slab,  which  it  seemed  a  breath  would  hurl  into  the 
abyss  below.  We  mounted  the  barometer  in  the  snow  of  the  summit, 
and  fixing  a  ramrod  in  a  crevice,  unfurled  the  national  flag  to  wave 
in  the  breeze  where  never  flag  waved  before/"  During  our  morning's 
ascent  we  had  met  no  sign  of  animal  life  except  the  small  sparrow- 
like bird  already  mentioned.  A  stillness  the  most  profound  and  a 
terrible  solitude  forced  themselves  constantly  on  the  mind  as  the 
great  features  of  the  place.  Here  on  the  summit,  where  the  stillness 
was  absolute,  unbroken  by  any  sound,  and  the  solitude  complete, 
we  thought  ourselves  beyond  the  region  of  animated  life;  but  while 
we  were  sitting  on  the  rock  a  solitary  bee  {bromus,  the  bumble  bee) 
came  winging  his  flight  from  the  eastern  valley,  and  lit  on  the  knee 
of  one  of  the  men.^^ 

It  was  a  strange  place,  the  icy  rock  and  the  highest  peak  of  the 
Rocky  Mountains,  for  a  lover  of  warm  sunshine  and  flowers,  and  we 
pleased  ourselves  with  the  idea  that  he  was  the  first  of  his  species  to 
cross  the  mountain  barrier,  a  solitary  pioneer  to  foretell  the  advance 
of  civilization.  I  believe  that  a  moment's  thought  would  have  made 
us  let  him  continue  his  way  unharmed,  but  we  carried  out  the  law  of 
this  country,  where  all  animated  nature  seems  at  war;  and  seizing 
him  immediately,  put  him  in  at  least  a  fit  place,  in  the  leaves  of  a 
large  book,  among  the  flowers  we  had  collected  on  our  way.  The 
barometer  stood  at  18.293,  the  attached  thermometer  at  44°,  giving 
for  the  elevation  of  this  summit  13,570  feet  above  the  Gulf  of  Mexico, 
which  may  be  called  the  highest  flight  of  the  bee.  It  is  certainly  the 
highest  known  flight  of  that  insect.  From  the  description  given  by 
Mackenzie^"  of  the  mountains  where  he  crossed  them,  with  that  of 

70.  He  is  not  on  Fremont  Peak,  but  probably  on  one  farther  north  which 
the  Bonneys  call  Woodrow  Wilson  Peak,  just  south  of  Gannett  Peak.  A  party 
of  the  American  Alpine  Club  climbed  the  peak  in  1951,  checking  JCF's 
description  of  his  ascent  against  their  own  observations,  and  concluded  that 
he  could  have  been  on  no  other  peak  in  the  area.  The  flag,  which  }CF  pre- 
sented to  Jessie  upon  the  birth  of  their  daughter  Elizabeth,  was  a  special 
variation  on  the  usual  stars  and  stripes.  In  addition  to  thirteen  stripes  and 
twenty-six  stars,  it  bore  an  American  eagle  holding  arrows  and  an  Indian 
peace  pipe  in  its  claws.  The  flag  is  now  in  the  Southwest  Museum,  Los 

71.  Bombus  species,  the  bumblebee. 

72.  Sir  Alexander  Mackenzie  (1755P-1820)  was  the  first  explorer  to  cross 
the  North  American  continent  north  of  Mexico,  making  the  trip  in  1793.  The 
French  officer  of  whom  JCF  speaks  may  be  Gabriel  Franchere  (1786-1863), 
one  of  the  Astorians  who  reached  the  Columbia  on  the  Tonqiun  in  1811.  He 


a  French  officer  still  farther  to  the  north,  and  Colonel  Long's  mea- 
surements to  the  south,  joined  to  the  opinion  of  the  oldest  traders  of 
the  country,  it  is  presumed  that  this  is  the  highest  peak  of  the  Rocky 
Mountains."  The  day  was  sunny  and  bright,  but  a  slight  shining 
mist  hung  over  the  lower  plains,  which  interfered  with  our  view  of 
the  surrounding  country.  On  one  side  we  overlooked  innumerable 
lakes  and  streams,  the  spring  of  the  Colorado  of  the  Gulf  of  Cali- 
fornia; and  on  the  other  was  the  Wind  River  valley,  where  were  the 
heads  of  the  Yellowstone  branch  of  the  Missouri;  far  to  the  north, 
we  just  could  discover  the  snowy  heads  of  the  Trois  Tetons,  where 
were  the  sources  of  the  Missouri  and  Columbia  rivers;  and  at  the 
southern  extremity  of  the  ridge  the  peaks  were  plainly  visible, 
among  which  were  some  of  the  springs  of  the  Nebraska  or  Platte 
river.  Around  us  the  whole  scene  had  one  main  striking  feature, 
which  was  that  of  terrible  convulsion.  Parallel  to  its  length,  the  ridge 
was  split  into  chasms  and  fissures;  between  which  rose  the  thin  lofty 
walls,  terminated  with  slender  minarets  and  columns,  which  is  cor- 
rectly represented  in  the  view  from  the  camp  on  Island  lake.  Accord- 
ing to  the  barometer,  the  little  crest  of  the  wall  on  which  we  stood 
was  three  thousand  five  hundred  and  seventy  feet  above  that  place, 
and  two  thousand  seven  hundred  and  eighty  above  the  little  lakes  at 
the  bottom,  immediately  at  our  feet.  Our  camp  at  the  Two  Hills 
(an  astronomical  station)  bore  south  3°  east,"  which,  with  a  bearing 
afterward  obtained  from  a  fixed  position,  enabled  us  to  locate  the 
peak.  The  bearing  of  the  Trois  Tetons  was  north  50°  west,  and  the 

returned  by  land  to  Montreal  in  1814,  crossing  the  main  range  of  the  Rockies 
by  way  of  Athabasca  Pass.  Franchere's  journal  was  published  in  French  and 
in  several  English  translations,  beginning  in  1820.  Senator  Benton,  in  a  speech 
on  the  Oregon  question  {Congressional  Globe,  2S  May  1846),  acknowledged 
having  read  it  in  French,  and  the  chances  are  good  that  JCF  had  seen  it, 
perhaps  in  the  Benton  household.  The  mention  of  Major  Long  refers  to 
Stephen  H.  Long's  reconnaissance  of  a  part  of  the  Front  Range  of  the  Rockies 
in  1820. 

73.  An  incautious  statement,  for  the  next  peak  to  the  north  is  higher,  and 
so  are  dozens  of  others  in  the  Rockies.  JCF's  measurement  of  the  peak  at 
about  13,500  feet  is  quite  accurate,  and  it  would  have  been  impossible  for  him 
to  detect  with  the  eye  the  fact  that  (rannett  Peak  is — at  13,785  feet — consider- 
ably higher.  This  is  especially  true  when  Woodrow  Wilson  Peak  is  ascended 
by  the  route  which  JCF  used,  and  from  which  it  appears  to  tower  above 
CJannett.  At  14,431  feet,  Mount  Elbert  in  central  Colorado  is  the  highest  peak 
in  the  Rockies,  but  there  are  many  more  which  exceed  14,000  feet. 

74.  "This  bearing  checks  with  Woodrow  Wilson,  but  not  with  Fremont 
Peak"  (bonney  &  bonney,  99). 


direction  of  the  central  ridge  of  the  Wind  River  mountains  south 
39°  east.  The  summit  rock  was  gneiss,  succeeded  by  syenitic  gneiss. 
Syenite  and  feldspar  succeeded  in  our  descent  to  the  snow  line, 
where  we  found  a  feldspathic  granite.  I  had  remarked  that  the  noise 
produced  by  the  explosion  of  our  pistols  had  the  usual  degree  of 
loudness,  but  was  not  in  the  least  prolonged,  expiring  almost  in- 
stantaneously. Having  now  made  what  observations  our  means  af- 
forded, we  proceeded  to  descend.  We  had  accomplished  an  object 
of  laudable  ambition,  and  beyond  the  strict  order  of  our  instructions. 
We  had  climbed  the  loftiest  peak  of  the  Rocky  Mountains,  and 
looked  down  upon  the  snow  a  thousand  feet  below,  and  standing 
where  never  human  foot  had  stood  before,  felt  the  exultation  of 
first  explorers.  It  was  about  2  o'clock  when  we  left  the  summit,  and 
when  we  reached  the  bottom  the  sun  had  already  sunk  behind  the 
wall,  and  the  day  was  drawing  to  a  close.  It  would  have  been  pleas- 
ant to  have  lingered  here  and  on  the  summit  longer,  but  we  hurried 
away  as  rapidly  as  the  ground  would  permit,  for  it  was  an  object  to 
regain  our  party  as  soon  as  possible,  not  knowing  what  accident  the 
next  hour  might  bring  forth. 

We  reached  our  deposit  of  provisions  at  nightfall.  Here  was  not 
the  inn  which  awaits  the  tired  traveller  on  his  return  from  Mont 
Blanc,  or  the  orange  groves  of  South  America,  with  their  refreshing 
juices  and  soft  fragrant  air;  but  we  found  our  little  cache  of  dried 
meat  and  coflFee  undisturbed.  Though  the  moon  was  bright,  the 
road  was  full  of  precipices,  and  the  fatigue  of  the  day  had  been  great. 
We  therefore  abandoned  the  idea  of  rejoining  our  friends,  and  lay 
down  on  the  rock,  and,  in  spite  of  the  cold,  slept  soundly. 

August  16.— We  left  our  encampment  with  the  daylight.  We  saw 
on  our  way  large  flocks  of  the  mountain  goat  looking  down  on  us 
from  the  cliffs.  At  the  crack  of  a  rifle  they  would  bound  off  among 
the  rocks,  and  in  a  few  minutes  make  their  appearance  on  some 
lofty  peak,  some  hundred  or  a  thousand  feet  above.  It  is  needless  to 
attempt  any  further  description  of  the  country;  the  portion  over 
which  we  travelled  this  morning  was  rough  as  imagination  could 
picture  it,  and  to  us  seemed  equally  beautiful.  A  concourse  of  lakes 
and  rushing  waters,  mountains  of  rocks  naked  and  destitute  of  vege- 
table earth,  dells  and  ravines  of  the  most  exquisite  beauty,  all  kept 
green  and  fresh  by  the  great  moisture  in  the  air,  and  sown  with 
briUiant  flowers,  and  every  where  thrown  around  all  the  glory  of 


most  magnificent  scenes;  these  constitute  the  features  of  the  place, 
and  impress  themselves  vividly  on  the  mind  of  the  traveller.  It  wsls 
not  until  11  o'clock  that  we  reached  the  place  where  our  animals 
had  been  left,  when  we  first  attempted  the  mountains  on  foot.  Near 
one  of  the  still  burning  fires  we  found  a  piece  of  meat,  which  our 
friends  had  thrown  away,  and  which  furnished  us  a  mouthful — a 
very  scanty  breakfast.  We  continued  directly  on,  and  reached  our 
camp  on  the  mountain  lake  at  dusk.  We  found  all  well.  Nothing 
had  occurred  to  interrupt  the  quiet  since  our  departure,  and  the  fine 
grass  and  good  cool  water  had  done  much  to  re-establish  our  ani- 
mals. All  heard  with  great  delight  the  order  to  turn  our  faces  home- 
ward; and  toward  sundown  of  the  17th,  we  encamped  again  at  the 
Two  Buttes. 

In  the  course  of  this  afternoon's  march,  the  barometer  was  broken 
past  remedy.  I  regretted  it,  as  I  was  desirous  to  compare  it  again 
with  Dr.  Engelman's  barometers  at  St.  Louis,  to  which  mine  were 
referred ;  but  it  had  done  its  part  well,  and  my  objects  were  mainly 

August  19. — We  left  our  camp  on  Little  Sandy  river  about  7  in 
the  morning,  and  traversed  the  same  sandy  undulating  country.  The 
air  was  filled  with  the  turpentine  scent  of  the  various  artemisias, 
which  are  now  in  bloom,  and  numerous  as  they  are,  give  much 
gaiety  to  the  landscape  of  the  plains.  At  10  o'clock,  we  stood  exactly 
on  the  divide  in  the  pass,  where  the  wagon  road  crosses,  and  descend- 
ing immediately  upon  the  Sweet  Water,  halted  to  take  a  meridian 
observation  of  the  sun.  The  latitude  was  42°  24'  32". 

In  the  course  of  the  afternoon  we  saw  buffalo  again,  and  at  our 
evening  halt  on  the  Sweet  Water,  the  roasted  ribs  again  made  their 
appearance  around  the  fires,  and  with  them,  good  humor  and  laugh- 
ter, and  song  were  restored  to  the  camp.  Our  coffee  had  been  ex- 
pended, but  we  now  made  a  kind  of  tea  from  the  roots  of  the  wild 
cherry  tree. 

August  23. — Yesterday  evening  we  reached  our  encampment  at 
Rock  Independence,  where  I  took  some  astronomical  observations. 
Here,  not  unmindful  of  the  custom  of  early  travellers  and  explorers 
in  our  country,  I  engraved  on  this  rock  of  the  Far  West  a  symbol  of 
the  Christian  faith.  Among  the  thickly  inscribed  names,  I  made  on 
the  hard  granite  the  impression  of  a  large  cross,  which  I  covered 
with  a  black  preparation  of  India  rubber,  well  calculated  to  resist 


the  influence  of  wind  and  rain.  It  stands  amidst  the  names  of  many 
who  have  long  since  found  their  way  to  the  grave,  and  for  whom  the 
huge  rock  is  a  giant  grave  stone. 

One  George  Weymouth  was  sent  out  to  Maine  by  the  Earl  of 
Southampton,  Lord  Arundel,  and  others;  and  in  the  narrative  of 
their  discoveries,  he  says:  "The  next  day,  we  ascended  in  our  pin- 
nace, that  part  of  the  river  which  lies  more  to  the  westward,  carrying 
with  us  a  cross — a  thing  never  omitted  by  any  Christian  traveller — 
which  we  erected  at  the  ultimate  end  of  our  route."  This  was  in  the 
year  1605,  and  in  1842  I  obeyed  the  feeling  of  early  travellers,  and 
left  the  impression  of  the  cross  deeply  engraved  on  the  vast  rock  one 
thousand  miles  beyond  the  Mississippi,  to  which  discoverers  have 
given  the  national  name  of  Roc}{  Independence?'' 

In  obedience  to  my  instructions  to  survey  the  river  Platte,  if  pos- 
sible, I  had  determined  to  make  an  attempt  at  this  place.  The  India- 
rubber  boat  was  filled  with  air,  placed  in  the  water,  and  loaded  with 
what  was  necessary  for  our  operations;  and  I  embarked  with  Mr. 
Preuss  and  a  party  of  men.  When  we  had  dragged  our  boat  for  a 
mile  or  two  over  the  sands,  I  abandoned  the  impossible  undertaking, 
and  waited  for  the  arrival  of  the  party,  when  we  packed  up  our  boat 
and  equipage,  and  at  9  o'clock  were  again  moving  along  on  our  land 
journey.  We  continued  along  the  valley  on  the  right  bank  of  the 
Sweet  Water,  where  the  formation,  as  already  described,  consists  of 
a  grayish  micaceous  sandstone,  and  fine-grained  conglomerate,  and 
marl.  We  passed  over  a  ridge  which  borders  or  constitutes  the  river 
hills  of  the  Platte,  consisting  of  huge  blocks  sixty  or  eighty  feet  cube 
of  decomposing  granite.  The  cement  which  united  them  was  prob- 
ably of  easier  decomposition,  and  has  disappeared  and  left  them  iso- 
late, and  separated  by  small  spaces.  Numerous  horns  of  the  mountain 
goat  were  lying  among  the  rocks,  and  in  the  ravines  were  cedars, 
whose  trunks  were  of  extraordinary  size.  From  this  ridge  we  de- 
scended to  a  small  open  plain  at  the  mouth  of  the  Sweet  Water, 
which  rushed  with  a  rapid  current  into  the  Platte,  here  flowing 
along  in  a  broad,  tranquil,  and  apparently  deep  stream,  which 
seemed,  from  its  turbid  appearance  to  be  considerably  swollen.  I  ob- 

75.  JCF's  political  opponents  will  later  use  this  incident  as  evidence  when 
they  "charge"  him  with  being  a  Roman  Catholic  during  the  presidential  cam- 
paign of  1856. 


tained  here  some  astronomical  observations,  and  the  afternoon  was 
spent  in  getting  our  boat  ready  for  navigation  the  next  day.^^ 

August  24. — We  started  before  sunrise,  intending  to  breakfast  at 
Goat  island.  I  had  directed  the  land  party,  in  charge  of  Bernier,  to 
proceed  to  this  place,  where  they  were  to  remain,  should  they  find 
no  note  to  apprise  them  of  our  having  passed.  In  the  event  of  re- 
ceiving this  information,  they  were  to  continue  their  route,  passing 
by  certain  places  which  had  been  designated.  Mr.  Preuss  accom- 
panied me,  and  with  us  were  five  of  my  best  men,  viz:  C.  Lambert, 
Basil  Lajeunesse,  Honore  Ayot,  Benoist,  and  Descoteaux.  Here  ap- 
peared no  scarcity  of  water,  and  we  took  on  board,  with  various  in- 
struments and  baggage,  provisions  for  ten  or  twelve  days.  We 
paddled  down  the  river  rapidly,  for  our  little  craft  was  light  as  a 
duck  on  the  water,  and  the  sun  had  been  some  time  risen,  when  we 
heard  before  us  a  hollow  roar,  which  we  supposed  to  be  that  of  a  fall 
of  which  we  had  heard  a  vague  rumor,  but  whose  exact  locality  no 
one  had  been  able  to  describe  to  us.  We  were  approaching  a  ridge, 
through  which  the  river  passes  by  a  place  called  "canon"  (pro- 
nounced kanyon),  a  Spanish  word,  signifying  a  piece  of  artillery, 
the  barrel  of  a  gun,  or  any  kind  of  tube;  and  which,  in  this  country, 
has  been  adopted  to  describe  the  passage  of  a  river  between  perpen- 
dicular rocks  of  great  height,  which  frequently  approach  each  other 
so  closely  overhead  as  to  form  a  kind  of  tunnel  over  the  stream, 
which  foams  along  below,  half-choked  up  by  fallen  fragments.  Be- 
tween the  mouth  of  the  Sweet  Water  and  Goat  island,  there  is  prob- 
ably a  fall  of  three  hundred  feet,  and  that  was  principally  made  in 
the  caiions  before  us;  as  without  them,  the  water  was  comparatively 
smooth.  As  we  neared  the  ridge,  the  river  made  a  sudden  turn,  and 
swept  squarely  down  against  one  of  the  walls  of  the  caiion  with  a 
great  velocity  and  so  steep  a  descent,  that  it  had  to  the  eye  the  ap- 
pearance of  an  inclined  plane.  When  we  launched  into  this,  the  men 
jumped  overboard,  to  check  the  velocity  of  the  boat,  but  were  soon 
in  water  up  to  their  necks,  and  our  boat  ran  on;  but  we  succeeded  in 
bringing  her  to  a  small  point  of  rocks  on  the  right,  at  the  mouth  of 
the  caiion.  Here  was  a  kind  of  elevated  sand  beach,  not  many  yards 
square,  backed  by  the  rocks,  and  around  the  point  the  river  swept  at 

76.  The  confluence  of  the  Platte  and  the  Sweetwater  is  now  obscured  by 
the  waters  of  the  Pathfinder  Reservoir. 


a  right  angle.  Trunks  of  trees  deposited  on  jutting  points  twenty  or 
thirty  feet  above,  and  other  marks,  showed  that  the  water  here  fre- 
quently rose  to  a  considerable  height.  The  ridge  was  of  the  same 
decomposing  granite  already  mentioned,  and  the  water  had  worked 
the  surface,  in  many  places,  into  a  wavy  surface  of  ridges  and  holes. 
We  ascended  the  rocks  to  reconnoitre  the  ground,  and  from  the  sum- 
mit the  passage  appeared  to  be  a  continued  cataract  foaming  over 
many  obstructions,  and  broken  by  a  number  of  small  falls.  We  saw 
nowhere  a  fall  answering  to  that  which  had  been  described  to  us  as 
having  twenty  or  twenty-five  feet,  but  still  concluded  this  to  be  the 
place  in  question,  as,  in  the  season  of  floods,  the  rush  of  the  river 
against  the  wall  would  produce  a  great  rise,  and  the  waters  reflected 
squarely  off,  would  descend  through  the  passage  in  a  sheet  of  foam, 
having  every  appearance  of  a  large  fall.  Eighteen  years  previous  to 
this  time,  as  I  have  subsequently  learned  from  himself,  Mr.  Fitzpat- 
rick,  somewhere  above  on  this  river,  had  embarked  with  a  valuable 
cargo  of  beaver.  Unacquainted  with  the  stream,  which  he  believed 
would  conduct  him  safely  to  the  Missouri,  he  came  unexpectedly 
into  this  caiion,  where  he  was  wrecked,  with  the  total  loss  of  his  furs. 
It  would  have  been  a  work  of  great  time  and  labor  to  pack  our  bag- 
gage across  the  ridge,  and  I  determined  to  run  the  canon.  We  all 
again  embarked,  and  at  first  attempted  to  check  the  way  of  the  boat ; 
but  the  water  swept  through  with  so  much  violence  that  we  nar- 
rowly escaped  being  swamped,  and  were  obliged  to  let  her  go  in  the 
full  force  of  the  current,  and  trust  to  the  skill  of  the  boatmen.  The 
dangerous  places  in  this  canon  were  where  huge  rocks  had  fallen 
from  above,  and  hemmed  in  the  already  narrow  pass  of  the  river  to 
an  open  space  of  three  or  four  and  five  feet.  These  obstructions  raised 
the  water  considerably  above,  which  was  sometimes  precipitated 
over  in  a  fall;  and  at  other  places,  where  this  dam  was  too  high, 
rushed  through  the  contracted  opening  with  tremendous  violence. 
Had  our  boat  been  made  of  wood,  in  passing  the  narrows  she  would 
have  been  staved ;  but  her  elasticity  preserved  her  unhurt  from  every 
shock,  and  she  seemed  fairly  to  leap  over  the  falls. 

In  this  way  we  passed  three  cataracts  in  succession,  where,  perhaps, 
a  hundred  feet  of  smooth  water  intervened ;  and  finally,  with  a  shout 
of  pleasure  at  our  success,  issued  from  our  tunnel  into  the  open  day 
beyond.  We  were  so  delighted  with  the  performance  of  our  boat,  and 
so  confident  in  her  powers,  that  we  would  not  have  hesitated  to  leap 
a  fall  of  ten  feet  with  her.  We  put  to  shore  for  breakfast  at  some  wil- 


lows  on  the  right  bank,  immediately  below  the  mouth  of  the  canon; 
for  it  was  now  eight  o'clock,  and  we  had  been  working  since  day- 
light, and  were  all  wet,  fatigued,  and  hungry.  While  the  men  were 
preparing  breakfast,  I  went  out  to  reconnoitre.  The  view  was  very 
limited.  The  course  of  the  river  was  smooth,  so  far  as  I  could  see;  on 
both  sides  were  broken  hills;  and  but  a  mile  or  two  below  was  an- 
other high  ridge.  The  rock  at  the  mouth  of  the  canon  was  still  the 
decomposing  granite,  with  great  quantities  of  mica,  which  made  a 
very  glittering  sand. 

We  re-embarked  at  9  o'clock,  and  in  about  twenty  minutes  reached 
the  next  canon.  Landing  on  a  rocky  shore  at  its  commencement,  we 
ascended  the  ridge  to  reconnoitre.  Portage  was  out  of  the  question. 
So  far  as  we  could  see,  the  jagged  rocks  pointed  out  the  course  of  the 
caiion,  on  a  winding  line  of  seven  or  eight  miles.  It  was  simply  a 
narrow,  dark  chasm  in  the  rock;  and  here  the  perpendicular  faces 
were  much  higher  than  in  the  previous  pass,  being  at  this  end  two 
to  three  hundred,  and  further  down,  as  we  afterwards  ascertained, 
five  hundred  feet  in  vertical  height.  Our  previous  success  had  made 
us  bold,  and  we  determined  again  to  run  the  caiion.  Every  thing  was 
secured  as  firmly  as  possible;  and,  having  divested  ourselves  of  the 
greater  part  of  our  clothing,  we  pushed  into  the  stream.  To  save  our 
chronometer  from  accident,  Mr.  Preuss  took  it,  and  attempted  to 
proceed  along  the  shore  on  the  masses  of  rock,  which  in  places  were 
piled  up  on  either  side;  but,  after  he  had  walked  about  five  minutes, 
every  thing  like  shore  disappeared,  and  the  vertical  wall  came 
squarely  down  into  the  water.  He,  therefore,  waited  until  we  came 
up.  An  ugly  pass  lay  before  us.  We  had  made  fast  to  the  stern  of  the 
boat  a  strong  rope  about  fifty  feet  long;  and  three  of  the  men  clam- 
bered along  among  the  rocks,  and  with  this  rope  let  her  down  slowly 
through  the  pass.  In  several  places  high  rocks  lay  scattered  about  in 
the  channel;  and  in  the  narrows  it  required  all  our  strength  and  skill 
to  avoid  staving  the  boat  on  the  sharp  points.  In  one  of  these,  the 
boat  proved  a  little  too  broad,  and  stuck  fast  for  an  instant,  while  the 
water  flew  over  us;  fortunately  it  was  but  for  an  instant,  as  our 
united  strength  forced  her  immediately  through.  The  water  swept 
overboard  only  a  sextant  and  a  pair  of  saddle  bags.  I  caught  the  sex- 
tant as  it  passed  by  me;  but  the  saddlebags  became  the  prey  of  the 
whirlpools.  We  reached  the  place  where  Mr.  Preuss  was  standing, 
took  him  on  board,  and,  with  the  aid  of  the  boat,  put  the  men  with 
the  rope  on  the  succeeding  pile  of  rocks.  We  found  this  passage  much 


worse  than  the  previous  one,  and  our  position  was  rather  a  bad  one. 
To  go  back  was  impossible;  before  us  the  cataract  was  a  sheet  of 
foam;  and,  shut  up  in  the  chasm  by  the  rocks,  which  in  some  places 
seemed  almost  to  meet  overhead,  the  roar  of  the  water  was  deafen- 
ing. We  pushed  off  again;  but,  after  making  a  little  distance,  the 
force  of  the  current  became  too  great  for  the  men  on  shore,  and  two 
of  them  let  go  the  rope.  Lajeunesse,  the  third  man,  hung  on,  and 
was  jerked  headforemost  into  the  river  from  a  rock  above  twelve 
feet  high;  and  down  the  boat  shot  like  an  arrow,  Basil  following  us 
in  the  rapid  current,  and  exerting  all  his  strength  to  keep  in  mid 
channel — his  head  only  seen  occasionally  like  a  black  spot  in  the 
white  foam.  How  far  we  went  I  do  not  exactly  know;  but  we  suc- 
ceeded in  turning  the  boat  into  an  eddy  below.  "  'Cre  Dieu,"  said 
Basil  Lajeunesse,  as  he  arrived  immediately  after  us,  "J^  crois  bien 
que  j'ai  nage  un  demi  mile."  He  had  owed  his  life  to  his  skill  as  a 
swimmer;  and  I  determined  to  take  him  and  the  two  others  on 
board,  and  trust  to  skill  and  fortune  to  reach  the  other  end  in  safety. 
We  placed  ourselves  on  our  knees,  with  the  short  paddles  in  our 
hands,  the  most  skilful  boatman  being  at  the  bow;  and  again  we 
commenced  our  rapid  descent.  We  cleared  rock  after  rock,  and  shot 
past  fall  after  fall,  our  little  boat  seeming  to  play  with  the  cataract. 
We  became  flushed  with  success  and  familiar  with  the  danger;  and, 
yielding  to  the  excitement  of  the  occasion,  broke  forth  together  into 
a  Canadian  boat  song.  Singing,  or  rather  shouting,  we  dashed  along; 
and  were,  I  believe,  in  the  midst  of  the  chorus,  when  the  boat  struck 
a  concealed  rock  immediately  at  the  foot  of  a  fall,  which  whirled  her 
over  in  an  instant.  Three  of  my  men  could  not  swim,  and  my  first 
feeling  was  to  assist  them,  and  save  some  of  our  effects;  but  a  sharp 
concussion  or  two  convinced  me  that  I  had  not  yet  saved  myself. 
A  few  strokes  brought  me  to  an  eddy,  and  I  landed  on  a  pile  of 
rocks  on  the  left  side.  Looking  around,  I  saw  that  Mr.  Preuss  had 
gained  the  shore  on  the  same  side,  about  twenty  yards  below;  and  a 
little  climbing  and  swimming  soon  brought  him  to  my  side.  On  the 
opposite  side  against  the  wall,  lay  the  boat  bottom  up;  and  Lambert 
was  in  the  act  of  saving  Descoteaux,  whom  he  had  grasped  by  the 
hair,  and  who  could  not  swim ;  "Lache  pas,"  said  he,  as  I  afterward 
learned,  "lache  pas,  cher  frere."  "Grains  pas,"  was  the  reply,  "Je 
m'en  vais  mourir  avant  que  de  te  lacher."  Such  was  the  reply  of 
courage  and  generosity  in  this  danger.  For  a  hundred  yards  below, 
the  current  was  covered  with  floating  books  and  boxes,  bales  of 


blankets,  and  scattered  articles  of  clothing;  and  so  strong  and  boil- 
ing was  the  stream,  that  even  our  heavy  instruments,  which  were  all 
in  cases,  kept  on  the  surface,  and  the  sextant,  circle,  and  the  long 
black  box  of  the  telescope,  were  in  view  at  once.  For  a  moment,  I  felt 
somewhat  disheartened.  All  our  books;  almost  every  record  of  the 
journey — our  journals  and  registers  of  astronomical  and  barometri- 
cal observations — had  been  lost  in  a  moment.  But  it  was  no  time  to 
indulge  in  regrets;  and  I  immediately  set  about  endeavoring  to  save 
something  from  the  wreck.  Making  ourselves  understood  as  well  as 
possible  by  signs,  for  nothing  could  be  heard  in  the  roar  of  waters, 
we  commenced  our  operations.  Of  every  thing  on  board,  the  only 
article  that  had  been  saved  was  my  double-barrelled  gun,  which 
Descoteaux  had  caught,  and  clung  to  with  drowning  tenacity.  The 
men  continued  down  the  river  on  the  left  bank.  Mr.  Preuss  and  my- 
self descended  on  the  side  we  were  on;  and  Lajeunesse,  with  a  pad- 
dle in  his  hand,  jumped  on  the  boat  alone,  and  continued  down  the 
canon.  She  was  now  light,  and  cleared  every  bad  place  with  much 
less  difficulty.  In  a  short  time,  he  was  joined  by  Lambert;  and  the 
search  was  continued  for  about  a  mile  and  a  half,  which  was  as  far 
as  the  boat  could  proceed  in  the  pass. 

Here  the  walls  were  about  five  hundred  feet  high,  and  the  frag- 
ments of  rocks  from  above  had  choked  the  river  into  a  hollow  pass, 
but  one  or  two  feet  above  the  surface.  Through  this  and  the  inter- 
stices of  the  rock,  the  water  found  its  way.  Favored  beyond  our  ex- 
pectations, all  of  our  registers  had  been  recovered,  with  the  exception 
of  my  journals,  which  contained  the  notes  and  incidents  of  travel, 
and  topographical  descriptions,  a  number  of  scattered  astronomical 
observations,  principally  meridian  altitudes  of  the  sun,  and  our 
barometrical  register  west  of  Laramie.  Fortunately,  our  other  jour- 
nals contained  duplicates  of  the  most  important  barometrical  ob- 
servations which  had  been  taken  in  the  mountains.  These,  with  a 
few  scattered  notes,  were  all  that  had  been  preserved  of  our  meteor- 
ological observations.  In  addition  to  these,  we  saved  the  circle;  and 
these,  with  a  few  blankets,  constituted  every  thing  that  had  been 
rescued  from  the  waters. 

The  day  was  running  rapidly  away,  and  it  was  necessary  to  reach 
Goat  island,  whither  the  party  had  preceded  us  before  night.  In 
this  uncertain  country,  the  traveller  is  so  much  in  the  power  of 
chance,  that  we  became  somewhat  uneasy  in  regard  to  them.  Should 
anything  have  occurred,  in  the  brief  interval  of  our  separation,  to 


prevent  our  rejoining  them,  our  situation  would  be  rather  a  desperate 
one.  We  had  not  a  morsel  of  provisions,  our  arms  and  ammunition 
were  gone;  and  we  were  entirely  at  the  mercy  of  any  straggling 
party  of  savages,  and  not  a  little  in  danger  of  starvation.  We  there- 
fore set  out  at  once  in  two  parties.  Mr.  Preuss  and  myself  on  the  left, 
and  the  men  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  river.  Climbing  out  of  the 
caiion,  we  found  ourselves  in  a  very  broken  country,  where  we  were 
not  yet  able  to  recognize  any  locality.  In  the  course  of  our  descent 
through  the  canon,  the  rock,  which  at  the  upper  end  was  of  the  de- 
composing granite,  changed  into  a  varied  sandstone  formation.  The 
hills  and  points  of  the  ridges  were  covered  with  fragments  of  a  yel- 
low sandstone,  of  which  the  strata  were  sometimes  displayed  in  the 
broken  ravines  which  interrupted  our  course,  and  made  our  walk 
extremely  fatiguing.  At  one  point  of  the  caiion,  the  red  argillaceous 
sandstone  rose  in  a  wall  of  five  hundred  feet,  surmounted  by  a 
stratum  of  white  sandstone,  and  in  an  opposite  ravine  a  column  of 
red  sandstone  rose  in  form  like  a  steeple,  about  one  hundred  and 
fifty  feet  high.  The  scenery  was  extremely  picturesque,  and  not- 
withstanding our  forlorn  condition,  we  were  frequently  obliged  to 
stop  and  admire  it.  Our  progress  was  not  very  rapid.  We  had 
emerged  from  the  water  half  naked,  and  on  arriving  at  the  top  of 
the  precipice,  I  found  myself  with  only  one  moccasin.  The  fragments 
of  rock  made  walking  painful,  and  I  was  frequently  obliged  to  stop 
and  pull  out  the  thorns  of  the  cactus,  here  the  prevailing  plant,  and 
with  which  a  few  minutes'  walk  covered  the  bottom  of  my  feet. 
From  this  ridge  the  river  emerged  into  a  smiling  prairie,  and  de- 
scending to  the  bank  for  water,  we  were  joined  by  Benoist.  The  rest 
of  the  party  were  out  of  sight,  having  taken  a  more  inland  route.  We 
crossed  the  river  repeatedly,  sometimes  able  to  ford  it,  and  some- 
times swimming;  climbed  over  the  ridges  of  two  more  canons,  and 
towards  evening  reached  the  cut,  which  we  here  named  the  Hot 
Spring  Gate.  On  our  previous  visit  in  July  we  had  not  entered  this 
pass,  reserving  it  for  our  descent  in  the  boat;  and  when  we  entered 
it  this  evening,  Mr.  Preuss  was  a  few  hundred  feet  in  advance. 
Heated  with  the  long  march,  he  came  suddenly  upon  a  fine  bold 
spring,  gushing  from  the  rock,  about  ten  feet  above  the  river.  Eager 
to  enjoy  the  crystal  water,  he  threw  himself  down  for  a  hasty 
draught,  and  took  a  mouthful  of  water  almost  boiling  hot.  He  said 
nothing  to  Benoist,  who  laid  himself  down  to  drink,  but  the  steam 
from   the  water  arrested   his  eagerness,  and  he   escaped   the   hot 


draught.  We  had  no  thermometer  to  ascertain  the  temperature,  but 
I  could  hold  my  hand  in  the  water  just  long  enough  to  count  two 
seconds."^  There  are  eight  or  ten  of  these  springs,  discharging  them- 
selves by  streams  large  enough  to  be  called  runs.  A  loud  hollow 
noise  was  heard  from  the  rock,  which  I  supposed  to  be  produced 
by  the  fall  of  the  water.  The  strata  immediately  where  they  issue 
is  a  fine  white  and  calcareous  sandstone,  covered  with  an  incrusta- 
tion of  common  salt.  Leaving  this  Thermopylae  of  the  West,  in  a 
short  walk,  we  reached  the  red  ridge  which  has  been  described  as 
lying  just  above  Goat  island.  Ascending  this  we  found  some  fresh 
tracks  and  a  button  which  showed  that  the  other  men  had  already 
arrived.  A  shout  from  the  man  who  first  reached  the  top  of  the 
ridge,  responded  to  from  below,  informed  us  that  our  friends  were 
all  on  the  island,  and  we  were  soon  among  them.  We  found  some 
pieces  of  buffalo  standing  around  the  fire  for  us,  and  managed  to  get 
some  dry  clothes  among  the  people.  A  sudden  storm  of  rain  drove 
us  into  the  best  shelter  we  could  find,  where  we  slept  soundly,  after 
one  of  the  most  fatiguing  days  I  have  ever  experienced. 

August  25. — Early  this  morning  Lajeunesse  was  sent  to  the 
wreck  for  the  articles  which  had  been  saved,  and  about  noon  we 
left  the  island.  The  mare  which  we  had  left  here  in  July  had  much 
improved  in  condition,  and  she  served  us  well  again  for  some  time, 
but  was  finally  abandoned  at  a  subsequent  part  of  the  journey.  At 
10  in  the  morning  of  the  26th  we  reached  Cache  camp,  where  we 
found  every  thing  undisturbed.  We  disinterred  our  deposit,  arranged 
our  carts  which  had  been  left  here  on  the  way  out,  and  travelling  a 
few  miles  in  the  afternoon,  encamped  for  the  night  at  the  ford  of 
the  Platte. 

August  27. — At  midday  we  halted  at  the  place  where  we  had 
taken  dinner  on  the  27th  of  July.  The  country,  which  when  we 
passed  up  looked  as  if  the  hard  winter  frosts  had  passed  over  it, 
had  now  assumed  a  new  face,  so  much  of  vernal  freshness  had  been 
given  to  it  by  the  late  rains.  The  Platte  was  exceedingly  low,  a  mere 
line  of  water  among  the  sand  bars.  We  reached  Laramie  fort  on  the 

77.  "About  one  mile  above  Goat  Island  I  found  a  hot  spring  under  the 
rocks  through  which  the  Platte  breaks  its  course.  When  I  noticed  it,  I  was 
pleased  at  the  chance  of  enjoying  a  clear  cold  drink;  the  water  of  the  Platte 
is  always  turbid.  But  how  quickly  did  I  withdraw  my  mouth!  I  did  not  tell 
Benoit,  who  followed  me;  why  should  he  not  burn  his  lips  a   little,  too?" 

(PREUSS,  57). 


last  day  of  August,  after  an  absence  of  forty-two  days,  and  had  the 
pleasure  to  find  our  friends  all  well.  The  fortieth  day  had  been 
fixed  for  our  return,  and  the  quick  eyes  of  the  Indians,  who  were 
on  the  lookout  for  us,  discovered  our  flag  as  we  wound  among  the 
hills.  The  fort  saluted  us  with  repeated  discharges  of  its  single  piece, 
which  we  returned  with  scattered  volleys  of  our  small  arms,  and  felt 
the  joy  of  a  home  reception  in  getting  back  to  this  remote  station, 
which  seemed  so  far  ofiF  as  we  went  out. 

On  the  morning  of  the  3d  of  September  we  bade  adieu  to  our 
kind  friends  at  the  fort,  and  continued  our  homeward  journey  down 
the  Platte,  which  was  glorious  with  the  autumnal  splendor  of  in- 
numerable flowers  in  full  and  brilliant  bloom.  On  the  warm  sands, 
among  the  helianthi  [sunflower],  one  of  the  characteristic  plants, 
we  saw  great  numbers  of  rattlesnakes,  of  which  five  or  six  were 
killed  in  the  morning's  ride.  We  occupied  ourselves  in  improving 
our  previous  survey  of  the  river;  and,  as  the  weather  was  fine, 
astronomical  observations  were  generally  made  at  night  and  at  noon. 

We  halted  for  a  short  time  in  the  afternoon  of  the  5th  with  a  vil- 
lage of  Sioux  Indians,  some  of  whose  chiefs  we  had  met  at  Laramie. 
The  water  in  the  Platte  was  extremely  low,  in  many  places  the 
large  expanse  of  sands,  with  some  occasional  stunted  trees  on  the 
banks,  gave  it  the  air  of  the  seacoast,  the  bed  of  the  river  being 
merely  a  succession  of  sandbars,  among  which  the  channel  was 
divided  into  rivulets  a  few  inches  deep.''^  We  crossed  and  recrossed 
with  our  carts  repeatedly  and  at  our  pleasure,  and  whenever  an 
obstruction  barred  our  way,  in  the  shape  of  precipitous  bluffs  that 
came  down  upon  the  river,  we  turned  directly  into  it,  and  made  our 
way  along  the  sandy  bed,  with  no  other  inconvenience  than  the  fre- 
quent quicksands,  which  greatly  fatigued  our  animals.  Disinterring 
on  the  way  the  cache  which  had  been  made  by  our  party  when  they 

78.  During  this  dull  retracing  of  the  outward  trail,  Preuss  made  an  assess- 
ment of  their  trip:  "What  has  he  really  done.  ...  He  has  established  some 
latitudes  and  two  longitudes — that  is  all.  Collecting  plants  and  minerals  is 
good  and  praiseworthy,  but  it  is  not  part  of  the  commission.  If  he  had  re- 
turned south  via  the  Arkansas,  or  north  via  the  [Big]  Horn  and  the  Yellow- 
stone, we  could  make  an  entirely  different  map.  .  .  .  He  cannot  quite 
manage  the  sextant  which  is  left  .  .  ."  (preuss,  65).  But  after  he  reaches 
Grand  Island,  JCF  will  be  covering  new  ground,  at  least  for  him,  and  prob- 
ably doing  as  much  justice  to  his  commission  as  if  he  were  striking  out  into 
other  territory.  He  is  also  laboring  within  a  time  schedule  which  Preuss  does 
not  fully  understand. 


ascended  the  river,  we  reached  without  accident,  on  the  evening  of 
the  12th  of  September,  our  old  encampment  of  the  2d  of  July,  at 
the  junction  of  the  forks.  Our  cache  of  the  barrel  of  pork  was 
found  undisturbed,  and  proved  a  seasonable  addition  to  our  stock  of 
provisions.  At  this  place  I  had  determined  to  make  another  attempt 
to  descend  the  Platte  by  water,  and  accordingly  spent  two  days  in 
the  construction  of  a  bull  boat.  Men  were  sent  out  on  the  evening 
of  our  arrival,  the  necessary  number  of  bulls  killed,  and  their  skins 
brought  to  the  camp.  Four  of  the  best  of  them  were  strongly  sewed 
together  with  buffalo  sinew,  and  stretched  over  a  basket  frame  of 
willow.  The  seams  were  then  covered  with  ashes  and  tallow,  and 
the  boat  left  exposed  to  the  sun  for  the  greater  part  of  one  day, 
which  was  sufficient  to  dry  and  contract  the  skin,  and  make  the 
whole  work  solid  and  strong.  It  had  a  rounded  bow,  was  eight  feet 
long  and  five  broad,  and  drew  with  four  men  about  four  inches 
water.  On  the  morning  of  the  15th  we  embarked  in  our  hide  boat, 
Mr.  Preuss  and  myself,  with  two  men.  We  dragged  her  over  the 
sands  for  three  or  four  miles,  and  then  left  her  on  a  bar,  and  aban- 
doned entirely  all  further  attempts  to  navigate  this  river.  The  names 
given  by  the  Indians  are  always  remarkably  appropriate;  and  cer- 
tainly none  was  ever  more  so  than  that  which  they  have  given  to  this 
stream,  "the  Nebraska,  or  Shallow  river."  Walking  steadily  the  re- 
mainder of  the  day,  a  little  before  dark  we  overtook  our  people  at 
their  evening  camp,  about  twenty-one  miles  below  the  junction. 
The  next  morning  we  crossed  the  Platte,  and  continued  our  way 
down  the  river  bottom  on  the  left  bank,  where  we  found  an  ex- 
cellent, plainly  beaten  road. 

On  the  18th  we  reached  Grand  island,  which  is  fifty-two  miles 
long,  with  an  average  breadth  of  one  mile  and  three  quarters.  It  has 
on  it  some  small  eminences,  and  is  sufficiently  elevated  to  be  secure 
from  the  annual  floods  of  the  river.  As  has  been  already  remarked, 
it  is  well  timbered,  with  an  excellent  soil,  and  recommends  itself 
to  notice  as  the  best  point  for  a  military  position  on  the  Lower 

On  the  22d  we  arrived  at  the  village  of  the  Grand  Pawnees,  on  the 
right  bank  of  the  river,  about  thirty  miles  above  the  mouth  of  the 
Loup  fork.  They  were  gathering  in  their  corn,  and  we  obtained 
from  them  a  very  welcome  supply  of  vegetables. 

The  morning  of  the  24th  we  reached  the  Loup  fork  of  the  Platte. 
At  the  place  where  we  forded  it,  this  stream  was  four  hundred  and 


thirty  yards  broad,  with  a  swift  current  of  clear  water,  in  this  re- 
spect differing  from  the  Platte,  which  has  a  yellow  muddy  color, 
derived  from  the  limestone  and  marl  formatiofi,  of  which  we  have 
previously  spoken.  The  ford  was  difficult,  as  the  water  was  so  deep 
that  it  came  into  the  body  of  the  carts,  and  we  reached  the  opposite 
bank  after  repeated  attempts,  ascending  and  descending  the  bed  of 
the  river  in  order  to  avail  ourselves  of  the  bars.  We  encamped  on 
the  left  bank  of  the  fork,  in  the  point  of  land  at  its  junction  with  the 
Platte.  During  the  two  days  that  we  remained  here  for  astronomical 
observations,  the  bad  weather  permitted  us  to  obtain  but  one  good 
observation  for  the  latitude,  a  meridian  latitude  of  the  sun,  which 
gave  for  the  latitude  of  the  mouth  of  the  Loup  fork,  41°  22'  U". 

Five  or  six  days  previously,  I  had  sent  forward  C.  Lambert, 
with  two  men,  to  Bellevue,  with  directions  to  ask  from  Mr.  P. 
Sarpy,  the  gentleman  in  charge  of  the  American  Company's  estab- 
lishment at  that  place,  the  aid  of  his  carpenters  in  constructing  a 
boat,  in  which  I  proposed  to  descend  the  Missouri.  On  the  afternoon 
of  the  27th  we  met  one  of  the  men,'^  who  had  been  despatched  by 
Mr.  Sarpy  with  a  welcome  supply  of  provisions  and  a  very  kind 
note,  which  gave  us  the  very  gratifying  intelligence  that  our  boat 
was  in  rapid  progress.  On  the  evening  of  the  30th  we  encamped  in 
an  almost  impenetrable  undergrowth  on  the  left  bank  of  the  Platte, 
in  the  point  of  land  at  its  confluence  with  the  Missouri,  three  hun- 
dred and  fifteen  miles,  according  to  our  reckoning,  from  the  junc- 
tion of  the  forks,  and  five  hundred  and  twenty  from  Fort  Laramie.^*^ 
From  the  junction  we  had  found  the  bed  of  the  Platte  occupied 
with  numerous  islands,  many  of  them  very  large,  and  all  well  tim- 
bered; possessing,  as  well  as  the  bottom  lands  of  the  river,  a  very 
excellent  soil.  With  the  exception  of  some  scattered  groves  on  the 
banks,  the  bottoms  are  generally  without  timber.  A  portion  of  these 
consist  of  low  grounds,  covered  with  a  profusion  of  fine  grasses,  and 
are  probably  inundated  in  the  spring;  the  remaining  part  is  high 
river  prairie,  entirely  beyond  the  influence  of  the  floods.  The 
breadth  of  the  river  is  usually  three  quarters  of  a  mile,  except  where 
it  is  enlarged  by  islands.  That  portion  of  its  course  which  is  occu- 
pied by  Grand  island  has  an  average  breadth,  from  shore  to  shore, 

79.  Menard,  according  to  preuss,  75. 

80.  JCF  is  now  at  the  future  site  of  Plattsmouth,  Nebr.,  and  the  cowbells 
he  will  hear  tomorrow  morning  will  be  sounding  from  setdements  in  what  is 
now  Mills  County,  Iowa. 


of  two  and  a  half  miles.  The  breadth  of  the  valley,  with  the  various 
accidents  of  ground — springs,  timber,  and  whatever  I  have  thought 
interesting  to  travellers  and  settlers — you  will  find  indicated  on  the 
larger  map  which  accompanies  this  report.^^ 

October  1. — I  rose  this  morning  long  before  daylight,  and  heard 
with  a  feeling  of  pleasure  the  tinkling  of  cow  bells  at  the  settlements 
on  the  opposite  side  of  the  Missouri.  Early  in  the  day  we  reached 
Mr.  Sarpy's  residence;  and,  in  the  security  and  comfort  of  his  hos- 
pitable mansion,  felt  the  pleasure  of  being  again  within  the  pale 
of  civilization.  We  found  our  boat  on  the  stocks;  a  few  days  sufficed 
to  complete  her;  and,  in  the  afternoon  of  the  4th,  we  embarked  on 
the  Missouri.  All  our  equipage,  horses,  carts,  and  the  materiel 
of  the  camp,  had  been  sold  at  public  auction  at  Bellevue.  The 
strength  of  my  party  enabled  me  to  man  the  boat  with  ten  oars,  re- 
lieved every  hour;  and  we  descended  rapidly.  Early  on  the  morning 
of  the  10th,  we  halted  to  make  some  astronomical  observations  at 
the  mouth  of  the  Kanzas,  exactly  four  months  since  we  had  left  the 
trading  post  of  Mr.  Cyprian  Chouteau,  on  the  same  river,  ten  miles 
above.  On  our  descent  to  this  place,  we  had  employed  ourselves  in 
surveying  and  sketching  the  Missouri,  making  astronomical  observa- 
tions regularly  at  night  and  at  midday,  whenever  the  weather  per- 
mitted. These  operations  on  the  river  were  continued  until  our 
arrival  at  the  city  of  St.  Louis,  Missouri,  on  the  17th;  and  will  be 
found,  imbodied  with  other  results,  on  the  map^"  and  in  the 
appendices  which  accompany  this  report.  At  St.  Louis,  the  sale  of 
our  remaining  effects  was  made;  and,  leaving  that  city  by  steam- 
boat on  the  18th,  I  had  the  honor  to  report  to  you  at  the  city  of 
Washington  on  the  29th  of  October. 

Very  respectfully,  sir,  your  obedient  servant, 

}.  C.  Fremont, 
2d  Lieut.  Corps  of  Topographical  Engineers. 

81.  See  Map  2  (Map  Portfolio). 

82.  Ibid. 







The  collection  of  plants  submitted  to  me  for  examination,  though 
made  under  unfavorable  circumstances,  is  a  very  interesting  con- 
tribution to  North  American  Botany.  From  the  mouth  of  the  Kan- 
zas  river  to  the  "Red  Buttes"  on  the  North  fork  of  the  Platte,  the 
transportation  was  effected  in  carts;  but  from  that  place  to  and  from 
the  mountains,  the  explorations  were  made  on  horseback,  and  by 
such  rapid  movements,  (which  were  necessary,  in  order  to  ac- 
complish the  objects  of  the  expedition)  that  but  litde  opportunity 
was  af][orded  for  collecting  and  drying  botanical  specimens.  Be- 
sides, the  party  was  in  a  savage  and  inhospitable  country,  sometimes 
annoyed  by  Indians,  and  frequently  in  great  distress  from  want  of 
provisions;  from  which  circumstances,  and  the  many  pressing  duties 
that  constantly  engaged  the  attention  of  the  commander,  he  was 
not  able  to  make  so  large  a  collection  as  he  desired.  To  give  some 
general  idea  of  the  country  explored  by  Lieut.  Fremont,  I  recapitu- 
late, from  his  report,  a  brief  sketch  of  his  route.  The  expedition  left 
the  mouth  of  the  Kanzas  on  the  10th  of  June,  1842,  and  proceeding 
up  that  river  about  one  hundred  miles,  then  continued  its  course 
generally  along  the  "bottoms"  of  the  Kanzas  tributaries,  but  some- 
times passing  over  the  upper  prairies.  The  soil  of  the  river  bottoms 
is  always  rich,  and  generally  well  timbered;  though  the  whole  re- 
gion is  what  is  called  a  prairie  country.  The  upper  prairies  are  an 
immense  deposite  of  sand  and  gravel,  covered  with  a  good,  and,  very 
generally,  a  rich  soil.  Along  the  road,  on  reaching  the  little  stream 
called  Sandy  creek   (a  tributary  of  the  Kanzas),  the  soil  became 

83.  Torrey's  catalogue  is  printed  verbatim,  after  his  preface,  using  his  own 
binomials  and  common  names.  For  modern  binomials  and,  usually,  com- 
mon names,  consult  the  index  under  each  species. 


more  sandy.  The  rock-formations  of  this  region  are  hmestone  and 
sandstone.  The  Amorpha  canescens  was  the  characteristic  plant;  it 
being  in  many  places  as  abundant  as  the  grass. 

Crossing  over  from  the  waters  of  the  Kanzas,  Lieut.  F.  arrived  at 
the  Great  Platte,  two  hundred  and  ten  miles  from  its  junction  with 
the  Missouri.  The  valley  of  this  river,  from  its  mouth  to  the  great 
forks,  is  about  four  miles  broad,  and  three  hundred  and  fifteen  miles 
long.  It  is  rich,  well-timbered,  and  covered  with  luxuriant  grasses. 
The  purple  Liatris  scariosa,  and  several  Asters,  were  here  conspicu- 
ous features  of  the  vegetation.  I  was  pleased  to  recognise  among  the 
specimens  collected  near  the  forks,  the  fine  large-flowered  Asclepias, 
that  I  described  many  years  ago  in  my  account  of  James's  Rocky 
Mountain  plants,  under  the  name  of  A.  speciosa,  and  which  Mr. 
Geyer  also  found  in  Nicollet's  expedition.  It  seems  to  be  the  plant 
subsequently  described  and  figured  by  Sir  W.  Hooker,  under  the  name 
of  A.  DoHglasii.  On  the  Lower  Platte,  and  all  the  way  to  the  Sweet 
Water,  the  showy  Cleome  integrijolia  occurred  in  abundance.  From 
the  Forks  to  Laramie  river,  a  distance  of  about  two  hundred  miles, 
the  country  may  be  called  a  sandy  one.  The  valley  of  the  North 
fork  is  without  timber;  but  the  grasses  are  fine,  and  the  herbaceous 
plants  abundant.  On  the  return  of  the  expedition  in  September, 
Lieut.  Fremont  says  the  whole  country  resembled  a  vast  garden; 
but  the  prevailing  plants  were  two  or  three  species  of  Heliajithus 
(sunflower).  Between  the  main  forks  of  the  Platte,  from  the  junc- 
tion, as  high  up  as  Laramie's  fork,  the  formation  consisted  of  marl, 
a  soft  earthv  limestone,  and  a  granite  sandstone.  At  the  latter  place, 
that  singular  leguminous  plant,  the  Ketitrophyta  motitana  of  Nut- 
tall  was  first  seen,  and  then  occurred,  at  intervals,  to  the  Sweet  Water 
river.  Following  up  the  North  fork,  Lieut.  Fremont  arrived  at  the 
mouth  of  the  Sweet  Water  river,  one  of  the  head  waters  of  the 
Platte.  Above  Laramie's  fork  to  this  place,  the  soil  is  generally  sandy. 
The  rocks  consist  of  limestone,  with  a  variety  of  sandstones  (yellow, 
gray,  and  red  argillaceous),  with  compact  gypsum  or  alabaster,  and 
fine  conglomerates. 

The  route  along  the  North  fork  of  the  Platte  afforded  some  of 
the  best  plants  in  the  collection.  The  Seneclo  rapifolia,  Nutt.,  oc- 
curred in  many  places,  quite  to  the  Sweet  Water;  Lippia  (Zapania) 
cufieijoUa  (Torr.  in  James's  plants,  only  known  before  from  Dr. 
[Edwin]  James's  collection;)  Cercocarpus  parvifolius,  Nutt.;  Erio- 


gonum  parvifolium  and  cocspitosum,  Nutt.;  Shepherdia  argentea, 
Nutt.,  and  Geranium  Vremontiif'^  a  new  species  (near  the  Red 
Buttes),  were  found  in  this  part  of  the  journey.  In  saHne  soils,  on  the 
Upper  Platte,  near  the  mouth  of  the  Sweet  Water,  were  collected 
several  interesting  chenopodiace^,  one  of  which  was  first  discovered 
by  Dr.  James,  in  Long's  Expedition;  and  although  it  was  considered 
as  a  new  genus,  I  did  not  describe  it,  owing  to  the  want  of  the  ripe 
fruit.  It  is  the  plant  doubtfully  referred  by  Hooker,  in  his  Flora 
Boreali  Americana,  to  Batis.  He  had  seen  the  male  flowers  only.  As 
it  is  certainly  a  new  genus,  I  have  dedicated  it  to  the  excellent  com- 
mander of  the  expedition,  as  a  well-merited  compliment  for  the  ser- 
vices he  has  rendered  North  American  botany. 

The  Sweet  Water  valley  is  a  sandy  plain,  about  one  hundred  and 
twenty  miles  long,  and  generally  about  five  miles  broad;  bounded 
by  ranges  of  granitic  mountains,  between  which,  the  valley  forma- 
tion consists,  near  the  Devil's  gate,  of  a  grayish  micaceous  sand- 
stone, with  marl  and  white  clay.  At  the  encampment  of  August 
5th-6th,  there  occurred  a  fine  white  argillaceous  sandstone,  a  coarse 
sandstone  or  puddingstone,  and  a  white  calcareous  sandstone.  A  few 
miles  to  the  west  of  that  position,  Lieut.  F.  reached  a  point  where 
the  sandstone  rested  immediately  upon  the  granite,  which  thence- 
forward, along  his  line  of  route,  alternated  with  a  compact  mica 

Along  the  Sweet  Water,  many  interesting  plants  were  collected,  as 
may  be  seen  by  an  examination  of  the  catalogue ;  I  would,  however, 
mention  the  curious  (Enothera  Nuttallii,  Torr.  and  Gr.;  Eurotia 
lanata,  Mocq.  (Diotis  lanata,  Pursh),  which  seems  to  be  distinct 
from  E.  ceratoides;  Thermopsis  montana,  Nutt.;  Gilia  pulchella, 
Dougl.;  Senecio  spartioides,  Torr.  and  Gr.;  a  new  species,  and  four 
or  five  species  of  wild  currants  {Ribes  irriguum,  Dougl.,  &c.)  Near 
the  mouth  of  the  Sweet  Water  was  found  the  Planiago  eriophora, 

84.  Geranium  jremontii  as  published  by  Torrey  was  a  nomen  nudum,  and 
thus  illegitimate  by  International  Rules  of  Botanical  Nomenclature.  When  the 
name  was  validated  by  Asa  Gray  in  Memoirs  of  the  American  Academy,  ser. 
2,  4  (1849):26,  a  Fremont  collection  numbered  "42"  was  cited  without  local- 
ity. G.  N.  and  F.  F.  Jones  {Rhodora,  45  [1943]:44)  suggested  when  reviewing 
the  genus  that  the  Fremont  specimen  came  from  "probably  farther  north  and 
west"  of  Lieut.  J.  W.  Abert's  collection,  also  cited  by  Gray,  taken  in  the 
Raton  Mountains,  New  Mexico,  7  Aug.  1846.  However,  this  report  (p.  292) 
gives  the  "Black  Hills"  as  the  source  of  Fremont's  collection  and  so  there  may 
have  been  a  second  numbered  specimen  sent  to  Gray. 


Torr.,  a  species  first  described  in  my  Dr.  James's  Rocky  Mountain 
Plants.  On  the  upper  part,  and  near  the  dividing  ridge,  were  col- 
lected several  species  of  Castilleja;  Fentstemon  micrantha,  Nutt.; 
several  Gentians;  the  pretty  little  Androsace  occidentalis,  Nutt.; 
SoUdago  incana,  Torr.  and  Gr.;  and  two  species  of  Eriogonum,  one 
of  which  was  new. 

On  the  8th  of  August,  the  exploring  party  crossed  the  dividing 
ridge  or  pass,  and  found  the  soil  of  the  plains  at  the  foot  of  the 
mountains,  on  the  western  side,  to  be  sandy.  From  Laramie's  fork 
to  this  point,  different  species  of  artemisia  were  the  prevailing  and 
characteristic  plants;  occupying  the  place  of  the  grasses,  and  filling 
the  air  with  the  odor  of  camphor  and  turpentine.  Along  Little 
Sandy,  a  tributary  of  the  Colorado  of  the  West,  were  collected  a  new 
species  of  Fhaca  (P.  digitata),  and  Parnassia  fimbriata. 

On  the  morning  of  the  10th  of  August,  they  entered  the  defiles 
of  the  Wind  River  mountains,  a  spur  of  the  Rocky  Mountains  or 
Northern  Andes,  and  among  which  they  spent  about  eight  days.  On 
the  borders  of  a  lake,  embosomed  in  one  of  the  defiles,  were  collected 
Sedum  Rhodiola,  DC.  (which  had  been  found  before,  south  of 
Kotzebue's  sound,  only  by  Dr.  James) ;  Senecio  hydrophilus,  Nutt.; 
Vaccinium  uliginosum;  Betula  glandulosa,  and  B.  occidentalis, 
Hook.;  Eleagnus  argentea,  and  Shepherdia  Canadensis.  Some  of  the 
higher  peaks  of  the  Wind  River  mountains  rise  1,000  feet  above  the 
limits  of  perpetual  snow.  Lieut.  Fremont,  attended  by  four  of  his 
men,  ascended  one  of  the  loftiest  peaks  on  the  15th  of  August.  On 
this  he  found  the  snow  line  12,500  feet  above  the  level  of  the  sea. 
The  vegetation  of  the  mountains  is  truly  Alpine,  embracing  a  con- 
siderable number  of  species  common  to  both  hemispheres,  as  well  as 
some  that  are  peculiar  to  North  America.  Of  the  former,  Lieut.  Fre- 
mont collected  Phleum  alpinum;  Oxyria  reniformis;  Veronica 
alpina;  several  species  of  Salix;  Carex  atrata;  C.  panicea;  and,  im- 
mediately below  the  line  of  perpetual  congelation,  Silene  acaulis  and 
Polemonium  coeruleum,  (^  Hook.  Among  the  alpine  plants  peculiar 
to  the  western  hemisphere,  there  were  found  Oreophila  myrtifolia, 
Nutt.;  Aquilegia  cocrtdea,  Torr.;  Pedictdaris  surrecta,  Benth.;  Pul- 
monaria  ciliata,  James;  Silene  Drummondii,  Hook.;  Menziesia 
empetrijormis,  Potentilla  gracilis,  Dougl.;  several  species  of  Pinus; 
Frasera  speciosa.  Hook.;  Dodecatheofi  dentatum,  Hook.;  Phlox 
muscoides,  Nutt.;  Senecio  Fremontii,  n.  sp.,  Torr.  and  Gr.;  four  or 
five  Asters,  and  Vaccinium  myrtilloides,  Mx.;  the  last  seven  or  eight 


very  near  the  snow  line.  Lower  down  the  mountain  were  found 
Arnica  angustifolia,  Vahl;  Senecio  triangularis,  Hook.;  S.  subnudus, 
DC;  Macrorhynchus  troximoides,  Torr.  and  Gr.;  Helianthella  uni- 
flora,  Torr.  and  Gr.;  and  Linosyris  viscidiflora,  Hook. 

The  expedition  left  the  Wind  River  mountains  about  the  18th  of 
August,  returning  by  the  same  route  as  that  by  which  it  ascended, 
except  that  it  continued  its  course  through  the  whole  length  of  the 
Lower  Platte,  arriving  at  its  junction  with  the  Missouri  on  the  1st 
of  October. 

As  the  plants  of  Lieut.  Fremont  were  under  examination  while 
the  last  part  of  the  Flora  of  North  America  was  in  the  press,  nearly 
all  the  new  matter  relating  to  the  Compositae  was  inserted  in  that 
work.  Descriptions  of  a  few  of  the  new  species  were  necessarily 
omitted,  owing  to  the  report  of  the  expedition  having  been  called 
for  by  Congress  before  I  could  finish  the  necessary  analyses  and 
comparisons.  These,  however,  will  be  inserted  in  the  successive 
numbers  of  the  work  to  which  I  have  just  alluded. 

John  Torrey. 
New  York,  March,  1843. 



Clematis  Virginiana  (Linn.)  Valley  of  the  Platte.  June,  July. 
Ranunculus  sceleratus  (Linn.)  Valley  of  the  Sweet  Water  river.  Au- 
gust 18-20. 
R.  Cymhalaria  (Pursh).  Upper  Platte.  July  31,  August. 
Aquilegia  cccrulea  (Torr.)  Wind  river  mountains.  August  13-16. 
Actcea  rubra  (Bigel.)  Upper  Platte.  August  26-31. 
Thalictrum  Cornuti  (Linn.)  Platte. 
T.  megacarpum,  n.  sp.  Upper  Platte.  August  26-31. 

Menispermum  Canadense  (Linn.)  Leaves  only.  On  the  Platte. 



Berberis  Aquijolium  (Torr.  and  Gr.)  Wind  River  mountains.  Au- 
gust 13-16. 


Argemone  Mexicana  /3  albifiora  (DC.)  Forks  of  the  Platte.  July  2. 


Nasturtium  palustre  (DC.)  Black  Hills  of  the  Platte.  July  26-Au- 

Erysimum  cheiranthoides  (Linn.)  Black  Hills.  July  23. 
E.  asperum  (Nutt.)  South  fork  of  the  Platte.  July  4. 
Pachypodium    (Thelypodium,   Endl.   gen.,   p.   876),   integrifolium 

(Nutt.)  North  fork  of  the  Platte.  September  4.  Var.  with  longer 

pods.  With  the  preceding. 
Vesicaria  didymocarpa  (Hook.)   Leaves  only.  North  fork  of  the 

Platte,  above  the  Red  Buttes,  July  30. 
Braya  n.  sp.  Wind  River  mountains,  near  the  limits  of  perpetual 

snow.  August  15. 
Lepidium  ruderale  (Linn.)  On  the  Platte.  June  29. 


Cleome  integri folia  (Torr.  and  Gr.)  From  the  Lower  Platte  nearly 

to  the  mountains.  June  29,  July  2,  August  21. 
Polanisia  trachysperma,  P  (Torr.  and  Gr.)  Black  Hills  of  the  Platte, 

July  23. 


Polygala  alba  (Nutt.)  P.  Beyrichii,  (Torr.  and  Gr.)  Forks  of  the 
Platte.  July  2. 



Paniassia  fimbriata  (Banks.)  Little  Sandy  creek,  defiles  of  the  Wind 
River  mountains.  Aug.  8. 


Arenaria  congesta  (Nutt.)  Highest  parts  of  the  Wind  River  moun- 
tains. Aug.  13-16. 

Silene  Drummondii  (Hook.)  With  the  preceding. 

S.  acaulis  (Linn.)  Wind  River  mountains,  at  the  limits  of  perpetual 


Talinum  paruiflorum  (Nutt.)  Little  Blue  river  of  the  Kansas.  June 


Linum  rigidum  (Pursh).  North  fork  of  the  Platte.  July  8. 
L.  perenne  (Linn.)  Black  Hills  to  the  Sweet  Water  of  the  Platte. 
Aug.  2-31. 


Geranium  Fremontii,  n.  sp.  Black  Hills.  Aug.  26-31. 


Oxalis  stricta  (Linn.)  On  the  Kansas.  June. 

Rhus  trilobata  (Nutt.)  Red  Buttes.  July  29. 



Malva  pedata  (Torr.  and  Gr.)  Big  Blue  river  of  the  Kansas.  June  21. 
M.  involucrata  (Torr.  and  Gr.)  Little  Blue  river  of  the  Kansas.  June 

Sida  coccinea  (DC.)  Little  Blue  river  to  the  South  fork  of  the  Platte. 

June  22-July  4. 


Vitis  riparia  (Michx.)  Grand  island  of  the  Platte.  Sept.  19. 


Negmido  aceroides  (Moench.)  On  the  lower  part  of  the  Platte. 


Oreophila  myrtifolia  (Nutt.)  Summit  of  the  Wind  River  mountains. 
Aug.  13-14. 


Ceanothus  vdutinus  (Dougl.)  With  the  preceding. 

C.  Americanus,  var.  sanguineus.  C.  sanguineus   (Pursh).  On  the 

C.  mollissimus,  n.  sp.  Near  the  Kansas  river.  June  19. 


Lathyrus  linearis  (Nutt.)  On  the  Platte,  from  its  confluence  with  the 

Missouri,  to  Fort  Laramie.  Sept.  2-30. 
Amphicarpoea  monoica  (Torr.  and  Gr.)  North  fork  of  the  Platte. 

Sept.  4. 
Apios  tuberosa  (Moench.)  Forks  of  the  Platte.  Sept.  13. 
Glycyrrhiza  lepidota  (Pursh).  From  near  the  Kansas  river  to  the 

Black  Hills  of  the  Platte.  June  21-July  25. 


Psoralea  floribunda  (Nutt.)  Forks  of  the  Platte.  July  2. 

P.  campestris  (Nutt.?)  and  a  more  glabrous  variety.  With  the  pre- 
ceding. July  2. 

P.  lanceolata  (Pursh).  Black  Hills  of  the  Platte.  July  24. 

P.  argophylla  (Pursh).  Little  Blue  river.  June  23. 

P.  tenuifiora,  (Pursh).  (no  flowers).  Forks  of  the  Platte.  Sept.  12. 

Petalostemon  violaceum  (Michx.)  Big  Blue  river  of  the  Kansas,  &c. 
June  21. 

P.  candidum  (Michx.)  Red  Buttes.  July  29. 

Amorpha  fruticosa  (Linn.)  From  the  Lower  Platte  to  the  moun- 
tains. August  8-Sept.  19. 

A.  canescens  (Nutt.)  Kansas  and  the  Lower  Platte  rivers.  June  19- 
Sept.  20. 

Lespedeza  capitata  (Michx.)  Mouth  of  the  Platte.  Sept.  30. 

Desmodium  acuminatum  (DC.)  Little  Blue  river  of  the  Kansas. 
June  22. 

Astragalus  gracilis  (Nutt.)  Forks  of  the  Platte.  July  2. 

A.  mollissimus  (Torr.)  Valley  of  the  Platte.  June  29. 

A.  Hypoglottis  (Linn.)  Sweet  Water  of  the  Platte.  Aug.  5. 

Oxytropis  Lambertii  (Pursh).  Big  Blue  river  of  the  Kansas  to  the 
forks  of  the  Platte.  June  20-July  2. 

O.  Plattensis  (Nutt.?)  (no  flowers).  Goat  island  of  the  Upper  Platte. 
July  31. 

Phaca  astragali na  (DC.)  Highest  summits  of  the  Wind  River  moun- 
tain. Aug.  15. 

P.  elegans  (Hook.)  var.?  Goat  island  of  the  Upper  Platte.  July  31. 

P.  {Orophaca)  digitata,  n.  sp.  Little  Sandy  river.  Aug.  8. 

P.  longifolia  (Nutt.)  (leaves  only).  Wind  River  mountains.  Aug. 

Kentrophyta  montana  (Nutt.)  Laramie  river  to  the  Sweet  Water. 
July  14-Aug.  5. 

Lupinus  leucophyllus  (Lindl.)  Wind  River  mountains,  and  Sweet 
Water  of  the  Platte.  Aug.  4-21. 

L.  ornatus  (Dougl.)   L.  leucopsis   (Agardh.)   With  the  preceding. 

Baptisia  leucatitha,  (Torr.  and  Gr.)  Kansas  river. 

Thermopsis  montana  (Nutt.)  Sweet  Water  river.  Aug.  5. 

Cassia  chamaecrista  (Linn.)  Mouth  of  the  Platte.  Sept  30. 

Schrankja  uncinata  (Willd.)  Kansas  and  Platte  rivers.  June  19- 

Darlingtonia  brachypoda  (DC.)  On  the  Platte.  Sept.  17. 



Cerasus  Virginiafia   (Torr.  and  Gr.)   Upper  North   Fork   of  the 

Platte.  July  30. 
Cercocarpus  parvifoUus  (Nutt.)   Bitter  creek,  North  Fork  of  the 

Platte.  July  22. 
Purs  hi  a  tridentata  (DC.)  Sweet  Water  river,  &c.  Aug.  12-Sept. 
Geum  Virginianum  (Linn.)  Kansas  river.  June  20. 
Sibbaldia  procumbens  (Linn.)  Wind  River  mountains,  near  perpet- 
ual snow.  Aug.  13-14. 
Potentilla  gracilis  (Dougl.)  With  the  preceding. 
P.  diversifolia  (Lehm.)  Sweet  Water  of  the  Platte  to  the  mountains. 

Aug.  4-15. 
P.  sericea  P.  glabrata  (Lehm.)  With  the  preceding. 
P.  fruticosa  (Linn.)  With  the  preceding. 
P.  Anserina  (Linn.)  Black  Hills  of  the  Platte.  July  26-31. 
P.  arguta  (Pursh).  Little  Blue  river  of  the  Kansas,  and  Black  Hills 

of  the  Platte.  June  23-Aug.  28. 
Rubus  strigosus  (Michx.)   Defiles  of  the  Wind  River  mountains. 

Aug.  12-17. 
Amdanchier  diversifolia,   var.   alnifolia,    (Torr.   and    Gr.)    Sweet 

Water  of  the  Platte.  August  5. 
Rosa  blanda  (Ait.)  Lower  Platte. 
R.  foliolosa  (Nutt.)  var.  leiocarpa.  With  the  preceding. 


Epilobium  coloratum  (Muhl.)  Black  Hills  of  the  Platte  to  the  Sweet 
Water  river.  Aug.  4-31. 

E.  spicatum  (Lam.)  From  the  Red  Buttes  to  the  Wind  River  moun- 
tains. Aug,  13-31. 

(Enothera  albicatdis  (Nutt.)  North  fork  of  the  Platte.  July  14. 

CE.  Missouriensis  (Sims.)  Big  Blue  river  of  the  Kansas.  June  19-20. 

(E.  trichocalyx  (Nutt.)  North  fork  of  the  Platte.  July  30. 

(E.  serrulata  (Nutt.)  On  the  Kansas  and  Platte.  June-July  14. 

(E.  rhombipetala  (Nutt.)  On  the  Platte.  September  18-20. 

(E.  biennis  (Linn.)  Black  Hills  to  the  Sweet  Water  river.  July  23- 
August  4. 

(E.  {Taraxia)  Nuttallii  (Torr.  and  Gr.)  Upper  part  of  the  Sweet 


(E.  speciosa  (Nutt.)  Big  Blue  river  of  the  Kanzas.  June  19-20. 
(E.  Drummondii  (Hook.?)  Black  Hills.  July  26. 
Gaura  coccinea  (Nutt.)  Var.  ?  Little  Blue  river  of  the  Kanzas,  and 
south  fork  of  the  Platte.  June  26-July  4. 


Mentzelia  nuda  (Torr.  and  Gr.)  North  fork  of  the  Platte.  July  14. 


Rihes  cereum  (Lindl.)  Sweet  Water  of  the  Platte.  August  2-4. 

R.  lacustre  (Poir.)  With  the  preceding.  /5.  leaves  deeply  lobed.  R. 

echinatum  (Dougl.)  Perhaps  a  distinct  species. 
R.  irriguum  (Dougl.)  With  the  preceding. 


Opiintia  Missouriensis  (DC.)  Forks  of  the  Platte.  July  2. 


Sediim  Rhodiola  (DC.)  On  a  lake  in  Wind  River  mountains.  Au- 
gust 12-17. 


Heracletitn  lanatum  (Michx.r)  Leaves  only.  The  leaves  are  more 
glabrous  than  in  the  ordinary  form  of  the  plant.  Alpine  region  of 
the  Wind  River  mountains. 

Polyt(£?iia  NuttalUi  (DC.)  On  the  Kanzas.  June  20. 

Sium?  incisu?72,  n.  sp.  Stem  sulcate;  segments  of  the  leaves  distant, 
deeply  incised  or  pinnatified;  the  lower  teeth  or  divisions  often 
elongated  and  linear.— North  fork  of  the  Platte.  July  12. 

Edosmia  Gairdneri  (Torr.  and  Gr.)  Without  fruit. 

Cicnta  macidata  (Linn.)  Lower  Platte. 

Musemum  tenuijolium  (Nutt.)  Alpine  region  of  the  Wind  River 



Comus  stolo?iifera  (Michx.)  On  a  lake  in  the  Wind  River  moun- 
tains. August  12-17. 
C.  circinata  (L'Her.)  On  the  Platte. 


Symphoricarpus  occidefitalis  (R.  Brown).  North  fork  of  the  Platte. 

July  10-Aug.  31. 
S.  vulgaris  (Michx.)  Defiles  of  the  Wind  River  mountains.  August 



Galium  boreale  (Linn.)  Upper  part  of  the  north  fork  of  the  Platte. 
August  12-31. 


V ernonia  fasciculata  (Michx.)  On  the  Platte. 

Liatris  scariosa  (Willd.)  Lower  part  of  the  Platte.  Sept.  27. 

L.  spicata  (Willd.)  North  fork  of  the  Platte.  Sept.  4. 

L.  squarrosa,  var.  intermedia  (DC.)  A  small  form  of  the  plant.  On 
the  Platte. 

L.  punctata  (Hook.)  Black  Hills  of  the  Platte.  Aug.  29. 

Brickellia  grandiflora  (Nutt.)  North  fork  of  the  Platte. 

Aster  ifitegrifolius  (Nutt.)  Base  of  the  Wind  River  mountains. 

A.  adscendens  (Lindl.)  Wind  River  Mountains.  Var.  Fremontii. 
With  the  preceding,  the  highest  summits  to  the  limits  of  per- 
petual snow.  Aug.  16. 

A.  laevis  (Linn.)  North  fork  of  the  Platte. 

A.  Novi-Belgii  (Linn.)  Sweet  Water  of  the  Platte.  August  22. 

A.  cordifolius  (Linn.)  Lower  Platte. 

A.  multiflorus,  P.  (Torr.  and  Gr.)  Upper  Platte,  &c. 

A.  jalcatus  (Lindl.)  Black  Hills  to  the  Sweet  Water.  July  30-Aug. 

A.  laxifolius  (Nees.)  On  the  Platte,  from  its  mouth  to  the  forks. 
Sept.  12-30. 

A.  oblongifolius  (Nutt.)  Lower  Platte,  &c. 


A.  Novce-Afiglice  (Linn.)  Lower  Platte  to  the  Wind  River  moun- 
tains. Aug.  18-Sept.  24. 

A.  Andmus  (Nutt.)  Near  the  snow  hne  of  the  Wind  River  moun- 
tains. Aug.  16. 

A.  glacialis  (Nutt.)  With  the  preceding. 

A.  salsuginosus  (Richards.)  With  the  preceding. 

A.  elegans  (Torr.  and  Gr.)  Wind  River  mountains. 

A.  glaucus  (Torr.  and  Gr.)  With  the  preceding. 

Dieteria  viscosa  (Nutt.)  On  the  Platte. 

D.  coronopifolia  (Nutt.)  With  the  preceding. 

D.  pulverulenta  (Nutt.)  Near  D.  sessiliflora.  With  the  preceding. 
Erigeron  Cariadense  (Linn.)  On  the  Platte,  from  near  its  mouth  to 

the  Red  Buttes.  Latter  part  of  September  to  July  30. 

E.  Bellidiastrum  (Nutt.)  On  the  Platte. 

E.  macranthum  (Nutt.)  With  the  preceding. 

E.  glabellum  (Nutt.)  With  the  preceding. 

E.  strigosum  (Muhl.)  With  the  preceding. 

Gutierrezia  Euthamicc  (Torr.  and  Gr.)  Laramie  river,  upper  north 

fork  of  the  Platte.  Sept.  3. 
Solidago  rigida  (Linn.)  North  fork  of  the  Platte. 
S.  Missouriensis  (Nutt.)   Fort  Laramie,  north  fork  of  the  Platte. 

July  22,  to  the  mountains. 
S.  speciosa  (Nutt.)  Upper  Platte. 
S.  Virga-aurea  (Linn.)   var.  multiradiata,  (Torr.  and  Gr.)   Wind 

River  mountain,  from  the  height  of  7,000  feet  to  perpetual  snow. 
S.  incana  (Torr.  and  Gr.)  Sweet  Water  river. 
S.  gigantea  (Linn.)  var.  /?.  From  the  Platte  to  the  mountains. 
Linosyris  graveolens  (Torr.  and  Gr.)  Sweet  Water  river.  Aug.  20. 
L.  fiscidi flora  (Hook.)  Upper  Platte. 
Aplopappus  spmulosus   (DC.)   Fort  Laramie,   north  fork   of  the 

Platte.  Sept.  3. 
Grindelia  squarrosa  (Dunal).  Upper  north  fork  of  the  Platte,  and  on 

the  Sweet  Water.  July  22-Aug.  21. 
Chrysopsis  hispida  (Hook.)  On  the  Platte. 

C.  mollis  (Nutt.)  With  the  preceding.  Too  near  C.  foliosa,  (Nutt.) 
Iva  axillaris  (Pursh).  Sweet  Water  river.  Aug.  3. 
Franseria  discolor  (Nutt.)  Near  the  Wind  River  mountains. 
Lepachys  columnaris  (Torr.  and  Gr.)  Little  Blue  river  of  the  Kansas. 

June  26. 
Balsamorrhiza  sagittata  (Nutt.)  Wind  River  mountains. 


Heliafithus  petiolaris  (Nutt.)  Black  Hills  of  the  Platte.  July  26. 

H.Maximiliani  (Schrad.)  With  the  preceding. 

Helianthella  utii flora  (Torr.  and  Gr.)  Wind  River  mountains. 

Coreopsis  tinctoria  (Nutt.)  On  the  Platte. 

Cosmidium  gracile  (Torr.  and  Gr.)  Upper  Platte. 

Bidens  connata  (Muhl.)  With  the  preceding. 

Hymenopappus  corymhosus  (Torr.  and  Gr.)  With  the  preceding. 

Actinella  grandifiora  (Torr.  and  Gr.)  n.  sp.  Wind  River  mountains. 

Achillea  Millefolium  (Linn.)  A.  lanosa.  (Nutt.)  Upper  Platte  to 
the  mountains. 

Artemisia  biennis  (Willd.)  On  the  Platte. 

A.  cana  (Pursh).  Without  flowers.  With  the  preceding. 

A.  tridentata  (Nutt.)  On  the  Sweet  Water,  near  the  mountains. 

A.  filifolia  (Torr.)  South  fork  of  the  Platte,  and  north  fork,  to  Lara- 
mie river.  July  4-Sept.  3. 

A.  Canadensis  (Michx.)  With  the  preceding. 

A.  Ludoviciana,  (Nutt.)  Black  Hills  of  the  Platte.  July  26. 

A.  frigida  (Willd.)  Black  Hills  to  the  mountains. 

A.  Lewisii  (Torr.  and  Gr.  ?)  No  flowers.  On  the  Platte. 

Stephanomeria  runcinata  (Nutt.)  Upper  Platte. 

Gnaphalium  uliginosum.  (Linn.)  Var.  foliis  angustioribus.  Sweet 
Water  river. 

G.  palustre  (Nutt.)  ^.  (Torr.  and  Gr.)  With  the  preceding. 

Artiica  an gusti folia  (Vahl.)  A.  fulgens,  (Pursh).  Defiles  of  the  Wind 
River  mountains,  from  7,000  feet  and  upwards.  August  13-14. 

Senecio  triangularis  (Hook.)  P.  (Torr.  and  Gr.)  With  the  preced- 

S.  subnudus  (DC.)  With  the  preceding. 

S.  Fremontii  (Torr.  and  Gr.)  n.  sp.  Highest  parts  of  the  mountains, 
to  the  region  of  perpetual  snow.  Aug.  15. 

S.  rapifolius  (Nutt.)  North  fork  of  the  Platte  and  Sweet  Water. 

S.  lanceolatus  (Torr.  and  Gr.)  n.  sp.  With  the  preceding. 

S.  hydrophilus  (Nutt.)  On  a  lake  in  the  Wind  River  mountains. 
Aug.  12-17. 

S.  spartioides  (Torr.  and  Gr.)  n.  sp.  Sweet  Water  river.  Aug.  21. 

Cacalia  tuberosa  (Nutt.)  Upper  Platte. 

S.  filijolius  (Nutt.)  /^.  Fremontii,  (Torr.  and  Gr.)  Lower  Platte. 

Tetradymia  inermis  (Nutt.)  Sweet  Water  river,  from  its  mouth  to 
the  highest  parts  of  the  Wind  River  mountains. 

Cirsium  altissimum  (Spreng.)  Lower  Platte. 


Crepis  glauca  (Hook.)  Upper  Platte. 

Macrorhynchus  {Stylopappus)  troximoides  (Torr.  and  Gr.)  Defiles 
of  the  Wind  River  mountains.  Aug.  13-14. 

Mulgedium  pulchdlum  (Torr.  and  Gr.)  Black  Hills  of  the  Platte. 
July  25-31. 

Lygodesmia  juncea  (Don).  Upper  Platte. 

Troximoji  pari/ifiorum  (Nutt.)  Sweet  Water  river,  near  the  moun- 


Lobelia  spicata  (Lam.)  On  the  Lower  Platte.  June  28. 
L.  siphilitica  (Linn.)  North  fork  of  the  Platte.  Sept.  4. 


Campanula  rotundifolia  (Linn.)  Lower  Platte. 

Specularia  amplexicauUs  (DC.)  Little  Blue  river  of  the  Kansas. 


Phyllodoce  empetriformis  (D.  Don).  Defiles  of  the  Wind  River 
mountains.  Aug.  13-16. 

Vaccinium  myrtilloides  (Hook.)  Wind  River  mountains,  in  the  vi- 
cinity of  perpetual  snow.  Aug.  15. 

V.  uliginosum  (Linn.)  With  the  preceding. 

Artostaphylos  Uva-ursi  (Spreng.)  On  a  lake  in  the  mountains.  Aug. 


Dodecatheon  dentatum  (Hook.)  Defiles  of  the  Wind  River  moun- 
tains. Aug.  13-16. 
Androsace  occidentalis  (Nutt.)  Sweet  Water  river.  Aug.  5. 
Lysimachia  ciliata  (Linn.)  Forks  of  the  Platte.  July  2. 
Glaux  mantima  (Linn.)  Upper  North  fork  of  the  Platte.  July  31. 



Orthocarpus  luteus  (Nutt.)  Sweet  Water  river.  Aug.  5. 

M'lmiilus  alsinoides  (Benth.)  Defiles  of  the  Wind  River  mountains. 
Aug.  13-16. 

M.  Lewisii  (Pursh).  With  the  preceding. 

Castilleja  pallida  (Kunth).  Sweet  Water  river.  Aug.  8. 

C.  miniata  (Benth.)  Wind  River  mountains.  Aug.  13-16.  There  are 
two  or  three  other  species  of  this  genus  in  the  collection,  which  I 
have  not  been  able  to  determine. 

Veronica  alpiiia  /?.  (Hook.)  Alpine  region  of  the  Wind  River  moun- 

?entstemon  albidum  (Nutt.)  Forks  of  the  Platte.  July  2. 

P.  ccsruleum  (Nutt.)  South  fork  of  the  Platte.  July  4. 

P.  micranthum  (Nutt.)  Sources  of  the  Sweet  Water,  near  the  moun- 
tains. Aug.  7. 

Pedicularis  surrecta  (Benth.)  Defiles  of  the  Wind  River  mountains. 
Aug.  13-16. 

Gerardia  longifolia  (Nutt.)  Lower  Platte.  July  22. 


Orobanche  fascictdata  (Nutt.)  South  fork  of  the  Platte.  July  4. 


Monarda  fistulosa  (Linn.)  On  the  Platte. 
Teucrium  Canadense  (Linn.)  With  the  preceding. 
Lycopiis  sinuatus  (Ell.)  With  the  preceding. 
Stachys  aspera  (Michx.)  Forks  of  the  Platte.  July  2. 
Scutellaria  galericulata  (Linn.)  North  of  the  Platte.  July  10. 
Mentha  Canadensis  (Linn.)  With  the  preceding. 
Salvia  azurea  (Lam.)  Kansas  river  and  forks  of  the  Platte.  June 
19-29,  July  2. 


Lippia  cunei folia,  Zapania  cuneifolia  (Torr.!  in  ann.  Lye.  Nat.  Hist. 
N.  York,  2.  p.  234.)  N.  fork  of  the  Platte.  July  12. 


Verbena  stricta  (Vent.)  With  the  preceding. 
V.  hastata  (Linn.)  With  the  preceding. 
V.  bracteata  (Michx.)  With  the  preceding. 


Pulmonaria  ciliata  (James;  Torr.  in  ann.  Lye.  N.  York,  2.  p.  224.) 

Defiles  in  the  Wind  River  mountains.  Aug.  13-15. 
Onostnodium  molle  (Michx.)  On  the  Platte.  June  29. 
Batschia  Gmelini  (Michx.)  Little  Blue  river  of  the  Kansas.  June  22. 
Myosotis  glomerata  (Nutt.)  Forks  of  the  Platte.  July  2. 


Eutoca  sericea  (Lehm.)  Wind  River  mountains! 

Phacelia  leucophylla,  n.  sp.  White  plant  strigosely  canescent;  leaves 
elliptical,  petiolate  entire;  racemes  numerous,  scorpioid,  densely 
flowered.— Goat  Island,  upper  North  fork  of  the  Platte.  July  30. 
Perennial. — Stems  branching  from  the  base.  Leaves  about  two 
inches  long,  and  6-8  lines  wide;  radical  and  lower  cauline  ones  on 
long  petioles;  the  others  nearly  sessile.  Spikes  forming  a  terminal 
crowded  sort  of  panicle.  Flowers  sessile,  about  3  lines  long.  Sepals 
strongly  hispid.  Corolla  one-third  longer  than  the  calyx;  the  lobes 
short  and  entire.  Stamens  much  exserted ;  filaments  glabrous.  Style 
2-parted  to  the  middle,  the  lower  part  hairy.  Ovary  hispid,  incom- 
pletely 2-celled,  with  2  ovules  in  each  cell.  Capsule,  by  abortion, 
one-seeded;  seed  oblong,  strongly  punctate.  Nearly  related  to  P. 
integrifolia  (Torr.)  ;  but  differs  in  the  leaves  being  perfectly  entire, 
the  more  numerous  spikes,  one-seeded  capsules,  as  well  as  in  the 
whitish  strigose  pubescence  of  the  whole  plant. 


Phlox  muscoides  (Nutt.)  Immediately  below  the  region  of  perpetual 

snow,  on  the  Wind  River  mountains.  Aug.  15. 
P.  Hoodii  (Richards.)  North  fork  of  the  Platte.  July  8. 
P.  pilosa  (Nutt.)  Big  Blue  river  of  the  Kansas.  June  20. 


Polemonium  caruleum  (Linn.,  Hook.)  Red  Buttes  on  the  Upper 

N.  fork  of  the  Platte.  P  humile  (Hook.)   Highest  parts  of  the 

mountains,  near  perpetual  snow.  Aug.  13-15. 
Gilia  {Cantua)  Ion gi flora  (Torr.)  Sand  Hills  of  the  Platte.  Sept.  16. 
G.  pulchella  (Dougl.)  Upper  part  of  the  Sweet  Water,  near  the 

mountains.  Aug.  7-20. 
G.  incofispicua  (Dougl.?)  Goat  Island,  upper  N.  fork  of  the  Platte. 

July  30.  This  differs  from  the  Oregon  plant  in  its  fleshy,  simply 

pinnatifid  leaves,  with  ovate,  obtuse  segments. 


Calystegia  septum  (R.  Br.)  Forks  of  the  Platte.  July  2. 

Ipomoca  leptophylla,  n.  sp.  Stems  branching  from  the  base,  prostrate, 
glabrous,  angular;  leaves  lanceolate-linear,  very  acute,  entire,  at- 
tenuate at  the  base  into  a  petiole;  peduncles  1-3-flowered;  sepals 
roundish-ovate,  obtuse  with  a  minute  mucro. — Forks  of  the  Platte 
to  Laramie  river.  July  4-Sept.  3.  Imperfect  specimens  of  this  plant 
were  collected  about  the  sources  of  the  Canadian,  by  Dr.  James,  in 
Long's  expedition;  but  they  were  not  described  in  my  account  of 
his  plants.  The  root,  according  to  Dr.  James,  is  annual,  producing 
numerous  thick  prostrate,  but  not  twining,  stems,  which  are  two 
feet  or  more  in  length.  The  leaves  are  from  two  to  four  inches 
long,  acute  at  each  end,  strongly  veined  and  somewhat  coriaceous. 
Peduncles  an  inch  or  more  in  length,  those  towards  the  extremity 
of  the  branches  only  1-flowered;  the  lower  ones  bearing  2-3,  and 
sometimes  4  flowers,  which  are  nearly  the  size  of  those  of  Caly- 
stegia sepium,  and  of  a  purplish  color.  Sepals  appressed,  about  five 
lines  long.  Corolla  campanulate — funnel  form,  the  tube  much 
longer  than  the  calyx.  Stamens  inserted  near  the  base  of  the  co- 
rolla; filaments  villous  at  the  base,  anthers  oblong-linear,  large. 
Style  as  long  as  the  stamens;  stigma  2-lobed;  the  lobes  capitate. 
Ovary  2-celled,  with  two  ovules  in  each  cell. 


Nycterium  luteum  (Donn  cat.)  South  fork  of  the  Platte.  July  4. 


Physalis  pubescens  (Willd.)  Upper  North  fork  of  the  Platte.  July  23. 
P.  pumila  (Nutt.)  With  the  preceding. 


Gentiana  arctophila  P  densiflora  (Griseb.  ?  in  Hook.  fl.  Bor. — Am. 
2.  p.  61.)  Sweet  Water  of  the  Platte.  Aug.  4. 

G.  (vffinis  (Griseb.)  North  fork  of  the  Platte.  Sept.  9. 

G.  Pneumonanthe  (Linn.)  Laramie  river  to  Little  Sandy  creek  in 
the  mountains.  July  12-Aug.  8. 

G.  Fremontii,  n.  sp.  Stem  branched  at  the  base;  branches  1-flowered; 
leaves  ovate,  cuspidate,  cartilaginous  on  the  margin,  erect;  corolla 
funnel-form ;  plicae  small,  slightly  2-toothed ;  capsule  ovate,  at  length 
entirely  exserted  on  its  thick  stipe. — ^Wind  River  mountains. — 
Annual.  Branches  several,  2-3  inches  long,  of  nearly  equal  length. 
Leaves  about  three  lines  long,  with  a  strong  whitish  cartilaginous 
border,  shorter  than  the  internodes.  Flowers  as  large  as  those  of 
G.  prostrata,  pentamerous.  Calyx  two-thirds  the  length  of  the  co- 
rolla; the  teeth  about  one-third  the  length  of  the  tube.  Plicae  of  the 
coralla  scarcely  one-third  as  long  as  the  lanceolate  lobes.  Stamens 
included;  anthers  oblong,  somewhat  cordate  at  the  base.  Capsule 
in  maturity,  and  after  dehiscence  (in  which  state  all  our  specimens 
were  collected),  exserted  quite  beyond  the  corolla,  and,  with  its 
long  stipe,  resembling  a  style  with  a  large  bilamellate  stigma. 
None  of  the  capsules  contained  any  seeds.  This  species  is  nearly  re- 
lated to  G.  prostrata  (Haenk.)  and  G.  humilis  (Stev.),  but  the 
former  has  spatulate  obtuse  recurved  leaves,  and  the  latter  entire 
plicae,  which  are  nearly  the  length  of  the  corroUa.  In  G.  humilis, 
and  in  the  allied  G.  squarrosa  (Ledeb.)  the  capsule  is  exserted 
after  discharging  the  seeds. 

Swertia  perennis,  ^  obtusa  (Hook.)  From  Laramie  river  to  the  Big 

Frasera  speciosa,  (Hook.)  Defiles  of  the  Wind  River  mountains. 
Aug.  13-14. 

Lisianthus  Russelianus  (Hook.)  Lower  Platte  to  the  Forks.  July- 


Apocynum  cannabinum  (Linn.)  On  the  Platte. 



Asdepias  speciosa  (Torr.,  in  ann.  Lye.  N.  York,  2.  p.  218. — A. 
Douglasii,  Hook.  fl.  Bor.— Am.  2  p.  53.  t.  142.)  Forks  of  the  Platte. 
July  2.  Collected  also  by  Mr.  Nicollet  in  his  Northwestern  expedi- 
tion. Hooker's  plant  differs  in  no  essential  characters  from  my  A. 
speciosa,  collected  by  Dr.  James  in  Long's  first  expedition. 

A.  verticillata  (Linn.)  Small  variety.  With  the  preceding. 

A.  tuherosa  (Linn.)  Kansas  river.  June  19. 

Anantherix  viridis  (Nutt.)  Big  Blue  river  of  the  Kansas.  June  20. 

Acerates  longijolia  (Ell.)  Polyotus  longifolia.  (Nutt.)  With  the 

A.  angustijoVms.  Polyotus  angustifolius.  (Nutt.)  With  the  preceding. 

Fraxinus  platycarpa  (Michx.)  Leaves  only.  Lower  Platte. 


Plantago  eriopoda  (Torr.  in  ann.  Lye.  N.  York,  2,  p.  237.)  Mouth  of 

the  Sweet  Water.  July  31. 
P.  gnaphaloides  (Nutt.)  Little  Blue  river  of  the  Kansas.  June  24. 


Chenopodium  zosterijolium  (Hook.)  Platte? 

C.  Album  (Linn.)  North  fork  of  the  Platte.  July  12. 

Olione  canescens  (Mocq.  Chenop.  p.  74.)  Atriplex  canescens.  (Nutt.) 

Upper  north  fork  of  the  Platte.  July  26. 
Cycloloma  platyphylla  (Mocq.  1.  c.  p.  18.)  Kochia  dentata,  (Willd.) 

North  fork  of  the  Platte.  Sept.  4. 
Sueda  mantima  (Mocq.  1.  c.  p.  127.)  With  the  preceding. 
Eurotia  lanata  (Mocq.  1.  c.  p.  81.)  Diotis  lanata,  (Pursh).  Red  Buttes 

to  the  mountains.  Aug.  18-25. 
Fremontia,  n.  gen.  Flowers  diclinous,  monoecious  &?  dioicous,  het- 

eromorphous.  Stam.  Fl.  in  terminal  aments.  Scales  eccentrically 

peltate,  on  a  short  stipe,  angular,  somewhat  cuspidate  upward. 

Stamens  2-3^  under  each  scale,  naked,  sessile;  anthers  oblong. 


Pist.  Fl.  solitary,  axillary.  Perigonium   closely   adhering  to   the 
lower  half  of  the  ovary,  the  border  entire,  nearly  obsolete,  but  in 
fruit  enlarging  into  a  broad   horizontal   angular   and   undulate 
wing.  Ovary  ovate;  styles  thick,  divaricate;  stigmas  linear.  Fruit  a 
utricle,  the  lower  two-thirds  covered  with  the  indurated  calyx, 
compressed.  Seed  vertical;  integument  double.  Embryo  flat-spiral 
(2-3  turns)  green;  radicle  inferior;  albumen  none. 
F.  vermicularis.  Batis?  vermicularis,  (Hook.)  Fl.  Bor.  Amer.  2.  p. 
128.  Upper  north  fork  of  the  Platte,  near  the  mouth  of  the  Sweet 
Water.  July  30.  A  low,  glabrous,  diffusely  branched  shrub,  clothed 
with  a  whitish  bark.  Leaves  alternate,  linear,  fleshy  and  almost 
semiterete,  6-12  lines  long  and  1-2  lines  wide.  Staminate  aments 
about  three-fourths  of  an  inch  long,  cylindrical,  at  first  dense,  and 
composed  of  closely  compacted  angular  scales,  covering  naked  an- 
thers. Anthers  very  deciduous.  Fertile  flowers  in  the  axils  of  the 
rameal  leaves.  Calyx  closely  adherent,  and  at  first  with  only  an  ob- 
scure border  or  limb,  but  at  length  forming  a  wing  3-4  lines  in 
diameter,  resembling  that  of  Salsola.  This  remarkable  plant,  which 
I  dedicate  to  Lieutenant  Fremont,  was  first  collected  by  Dr.  James 
about  the  sources  of  the  Canadian,  (in  Long's  expedition)  but  it 
was  omitted  in  my  account  of  his  plants,  published  in  the  Annals 
of  the  Lyceum  of  Natural  History.  It  is  undoubtedly  the  Batis? 
vermicularis  of  Hooker,  (1.  c.)  collected  on  the  barren  grounds  of 
the  Oregon  river  by  the  late  Mr.  Douglas,  who  found  it  with  only 
the  staminate  flowers.  We  have  it  now  from  a  third  locality,  so 
that  the  plant  must  be  widely  diffused  in  the  barren  regions  to- 
wards the  Rocky  Mountains.  It  belongs  to  the  sub-order  Spiro- 
lobeae  of  Meyer  and  Mocquin,  but  can  hardly  be  referred  to  either 
the  tribe  Suaedinae  or  to  Salsolae,  differing  from  both  in  its  dicli- 
nous heteromorphous  flowers,  and  also  from  the  latter  in  its  flat- 
spiral,  not  cochleate  embryo. 


Oxybaphus  nyctaginea  (Torr.  in  James'  Rocky  mountain  plants.) 
=  Calymenia  nyctaginea  (Nutt.)  Kansas  river,  June  20. 

Abronia  mellijera  (Dougl.)  North  fork  of  the  Platte,  July  7-12. 

A.  {Tripterocalyx)  micranthum,  n.  sp.  Viscid  and  glandularly  pubes- 
cent; leaves  ovate,  undulate,  obtuse,  acute  at  the  base,  petiolate; 


perianth  funnel  form,  4-lobed  at  the  summit,  3-4  androus;  ache- 
nium  broadly  3-winged.— Near  the  mouth  of  the  Sweet  Water 
river.  Aug.  1.  Annual.  Stem  diffusely  branched  from  the  base,  be- 
ginning to  flower  when  only  an  inch  high;  the  branches  of  the 
mature  plant  above  a  foot  long.  Leaves  1-1|  inch  in  length; 
petioles  about  as  long  as  the  lamina.  Heads  axillary.  Involucre  5- 
leaved,  8-14-flowered ;  leaflets  ovate,  acuminate.  Perianth  colored 
(purplish)  3-4  lines  long;  lobes  semi-ovate,  obtuse.  Stamens  in- 
serted in  the  middle  of  the  tube,  unequal ;  anthers  ovate,  sagittate 
at  the  base.  Ovary  oblong,  clothed  with  the  3-winged  base  of  the 
calyx;  style  filiform;  stigma  filiform-clavate,  incurved.  Mature 
achenium  about  7  lines  long  and  4  wide,  the  wings  broad,  nearly 
equal,  membranaceous  and  strongly  reticulated.  Seed  oblong.  Em- 
bryo conduplicate,  involving  the  deeply  2-parted  mealy  albumen ; 
radicle  linear-terete;  inner  cotyledon  abortive!  outer  one  oblong, 
foliaceous,  concave,  as  long  as  the  radicle.  This  interesting  plant 
differs  from  its  congeners  in  its  funnel-form  perianth,  3-4  androus 
flowers,  and  broadly  3-winged  fruit,  but  I  have  not  been  able  to 
compare  it  critically  with  other  species  of  Abronia.  It  may  prove 
to  be  a  distinct  genus. 


Polygonum  Persicana  (Linn.)  North  fork  of  the  Platte.  Sept.  4. 

P.  aviculare  (Linn.)  With  the  preceding. 

P.  amphibium  (Linn.)  Sweet  Water  river.  August  4. 

P.  viviparum  (Linn.)  Black  Hills.  July  26. 

Rumex  salicijolius  (Weinn.)  With  the  preceding. 

Oxyria  renijormis  (Hill.)  Alpine  region  of  the  Wind  River  moun- 
tains. August  13-16. 

Eriogofium  ovali folium  (Nutt.)  Horse-shoe  creek,  upper  north  fork 
of  the  Platte.  July  22. 

E.  co£spitosum  (Nutt.)  With  the  preceding. 

E.  umbellatum  (Torr.)  in  ann.  Lye.  Nat.  Hist.  N.  York,  2,  p.  241. 
Sweet  Water  river,  Aug.  7. 

E.  Fremontii,  n.  sp.  With  the  preceding. 

E.  annuum  (Nutt.)  North  fork  of  the  Platte.  September  4. 



Shepherdia  argentea  (Nutt.)  "Grains  de  boeuf."  Upper  north  fork  of 
the  Platte,  from  the  Red  Buttes  to  the  mouth  of  the  Sweet  Water. 
Aug.  24-28. 

S.  Canadensis  (Nutt.)  On  a  lake  in  the  Wind  River  mountains. 
August  12-17. 

Eleagnus  argenteus  (Pursh).  With  the  preceding. 


Euphorbia  marginata  (Pursh).  Forks  of  the  Platte.  September  11. 

E.  polygonifolia  (Linn).  South  Fork  of  the  Platte.  July  4. 

E.  corollata  (Linn.)  On  the  Kanzas. 

E.  obtusata  (Pursh).  Little  Blue  river  of  the  Kanzas.  July  23. 

Pilinophytum  capitatum  (Klotsch  in  Weigem.  arch.  Apr.  1842.) 
Croton  capitatum  (Michx.)  Forks  of  the  Platte. 

Hendecandra?  (Esch.)  multi flora,  n.  sp.;  annual  canescent,  with  stel- 
late pubescence,  dioecious;  stem  somewhat  diffusely  and  trichoto- 
mously  branched;  leaves  ovate-oblong,  petiolate,  obtuse,  entire; 
staminate  flowers  on  crowded  axillary  and  terminal  compound 
spikes. — Laramie  river,  north  fork  of  the  Platte.  Sept.  3-11. — About 
a  foot  high.  Fructiferous  plant  unknown.  With  larger  leaves.  Forks 
of  the  Platte.  July  2.  This  seems  to  be  the  same  as  the  plant  of 
Drummond's  Texan  Collection,  III.,  No.  266. 


Salix  longifolia  (Willd.)  On  the  Platte. 

S.  Muhlenbergii  (Willd.)  With  the  preceding.  Several  other  species 
exist  in  the  collection — some  from  the  Platte,  others  from  the 
mountains;  but  I  have  had  no  time  to  determine  them  satis- 

Populus  tremuloides  (Michx.)  Lake  in  the  Wind  River  mountains. 

?.  angustifolia  (Torr.  in  ann.  Lye.  N.  Hist,  of  New  York,  2,  p.  249.) 
Sweet  Water  river.  Aug.  21. 

P.  monilifera  (Ait.)  Lower  Platte. 



Ulmus  fulva  (Michx.)  Lower  Platte. 

Celtis  crassijoUa  (Nutt.)  With  the  preceding. 


Betula  glandulosa  (Michx.)  On  a  lake  in  the  Wind  River  mountains. 

Aug.  12-17. 
B.  occidentalis  (Hook.)  With  the  preceding. 


Finns  r'lgida  (Linn.)  Lower  Platte.  Without  cones.  Leaves  in  threes, 

about  3  inches  long. 
P.  undetermined.  Defiles  of  the  Wind  River  mountains.  Aug.  13-14. 

Between  P.  Strobus  and  P.  Lambertiana.  Leaves  in  5's,  1^-2  inches 

long,  rigid.  No  cones. 
P.  {Abies)  alba  (Michx.)  With  the  preceding. 
P.  near  Balsamea.  With  the  preceding.  Leaves  only. 
Jufiiperus  Virginiana  (Linn.)  Lower  Platte. 

Sagittaria  sagittifolia  (Linn.)  On  the  Kansas. 


Platanthera  leucophcea  (Lindl.)  Black  Hills.  July  27. 

P.  hyperborea  (R.  Br.)  Laramie  river  to  the  Red  Buttes.  Aug.  26-31. 

Spiranthes  cernua  (Rich.)  Sweet  Water  river.  Aug.  7. 

Aplectrum  hyemale  (Nutt.)  On  the  Platte.  June  29. 


Sisyrinchium  anceps  (Linn.)  North  fork  of  the  Platte.  July  12. 

Iris  Missouriensis  (Nutt.  in  Jour.  Acad.  Phil.  7,  p.  58.)   In  fruit. 


Sweet  Water  river.  Aug.  3.  Rhizoma  very  thick.  Leaves  narrow, 
rigid,  as  long  as  the  scape.  Scape  nearly  naked,  2-flowered,  terete, 
10  inches  high.  Capsules  oblong  obtusely  triangular.  Flowers  not 


Yucca  angustifolia  (Sims).  Laramie  river.  July  14. 

Allium  reticulatum  (Fras.)  Defiles  in  the  Wind  River  mountains. 

Aug.  12-17. 
Smilacina  stellata  (Desf.)  From  the  Laramie  river  to  the  Red  Buttes. 

Aug.  26-31. 


Zigadenus  glaucus  (Nutt.)  Sweet  Water  river.  Aug. 


f uncus  echinatus  (Muhl.)  North  fork  of  the  Platte.  Sept.  4. 


Tradescantia  Virginica  (Linn.)  and  a  narrow-leaved  variety.  Kansas 
and  Platte. 


Carex  jestucacea  (Schk.)  On  the  Kansas.  June. 

C.  aurea  (Nutt.)  Little  Blue  river  of  the  Kansas.  June  22. 

C.  panicea  (Linn.)  Alpine  region  of  the  Wind  River  mountains, 

near  perpetual  snow.  Aug.  15. 
C.  atrata  (Linn.)  With  the  preceding. 


Spartina  cynosuroides,  (Willd.)  Little  Blue  river  of  the  Kansas.  June 


Aristida  pallejis,  (Pursh).  On  the  Platte.  June  29. 

Agrostis  Michauxiana  (Trin.)  Little  Blue  river  of  the  Kansas.  June 

Phleum  alpinum,  (Linn.)  Alpine  region  of  the  Wind  River  moun- 
tains. Aug.  13-14. 

Bromus  ciliatus  (Linn.)  On  the  Platte.  June-Aug. 

Festuca  ovina  (Linn.)  Alpine  region  of  the  Wind  River  mountains. 
Aug.  13-14. 

Festuca  nutans,  (Willd.)  On  the  Kansas. 

Foa  laxa  (Haenke.)  With  the  preceding. 

F.  crocata  (Michx.?)  With  the  preceding.  Spikelets  2-flowered. 

F.  nervata  (Willd.)  On  the  Kansas. 

Koeleria  cristata  (Pers.)  Big  Blue  river  of  the  Kansas,  and  on  the 
Platte  as  high  as  Laramie  river.  June  20-July  22. 

Deschampsia  ccespitosa,  (Beauv.)  Alpine  region  of  the  Wind  River 
mountains.  Aug.  13-14. 

Andropogon  scoparius  (Michx.)  Lower  Platte. 

A.  nutans  (Linn.)  Laramie  river,  North  fork  of  the  Platte.  Sept.  3-4. 

Hordeum  jubatum  (Ait.)  Forks  of  the  Platte.  July  2. 

Elymus  Virginicus  (Linn.)  Big  Blue  river  of  the  Kansas.  June  20. 

E.  Canadensis  (Linn.)  Little  Blue  river  of  the  Kansas.  June  22. 

Bec/{mannia  erucijormis  (Jacq.)  North  fork  of  the  Platte.  July  22. 


Equisetum  arvense  (Linn.)  On  a  lake  in  the  Wind  River  mountains. 
Aug.  12-17. 


Hypopeltis  obtusa  (Torr.  compend.  hot.  N.  States,  p.  380,  1826.) 
Aspidium  obtusum  (Willd.)  Woodsia  Perriniana  (Hook,  and 
Grev.  Icon.  Fil.  I.  t.  68.)  Physematium  (Kaulf.)  obtusum,  (Hook, 
fl.  Bor.— Am.  2,  p.  259.)  On  the  Platte. 



The  maps  which  accompany  this  report  are  on  Flamsteed's  modi- 
fied projection,  and  the  longitudes  are  referred  to  the  meridian  of 

For  the  determination  of  astronomical  positions,  we  were  pro- 
vided with  the  following  instruments: 
One  telescope,  magnifying  power  120. 
One  circle,  by  Gambey,  Paris. 
One  sextant,  by  Gambey,  Paris. 
One  sextant,  by  Troughton. 
One  box  chronometer,  No.  7,810,  by  French. 
One  Brockbank  pocket  chronometer. 

One  small  watch  with  a  light  chronometer  balance,  No.  4,632, 
by  Arnold  &  Dent. 
The  rate  of  the  chronometer  7,810,  is  exhibited  in  the  following 


"New  York,  M«)/ 5, 1842. 

"Chronometer  No.  7,810,  by  French,  is  this  day  at  noon— 
"Slow  of  Greenwich  mean  time        —        —        11' 4'' 
"Fast  of  New  York  mean  time  —        —  ^h  45'  V 

"Loses  per  day    —        —        —        —        —  2    Ao 

"Arthur  Stewart, 
"74  Merchants'  Exchange." 

An  accident  among  some  rough  ground  in  the  neighborhood  of 
the  Kanzas  river,  strained  the  balance  of  this  chronometer  (No. 
7,810,)  and  rendered  it  useless  during  the  remainder  of  the  cam- 
paign. From  the  9th  of  June  to  the  24th  of  August  inclusively,  the 
longitudes  depend  upon  the  Brockbank  pocket  chronometer;  the 
rate  of  which,  on  leaving  St.  Louis,  was  fourteen  seconds.  The  rate 
obtained  by  observations  at  Fort  Laramie,  14".05,  has  been  used  in 

From  the  24th  of  August  until  the  termination  of  the  journey.  No. 
4,632  (of  which  the  rate  was  35".79)  was  used  for  the  sdme  purposes. 


The  rate  of  this  watch  was  irregular,  and  I  place  but  little  confidence 
in  the  few  longitudes  which  depend  upon  it,  though,  so  far  as  we 
have  any  means  of  judging,  they  appear  tolerably  correct. 








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The  elevations  which  have  been  given  in  the  course  of  the  pre- 
ceding report,  are  founded  upon  the  annexed  barometrical  observa- 
tions, and  it  is  scarcely  necessary  to  say  are  offered  only  as  the  best 
indications  we  have.  The  barometers  were  compared  with  those  of 
Dr.  G.  Engelman,  of  St.  Louis,  Missouri,  whose  observations  are 
given  for  a  corresponding  period.  The  following  is  the  result  of 
forty  comparative  observations  of  three  barometers  instituted  by  him 
from  May  22d,  to  May  29th,  1842,  at  St.  Louis.  Range  of  barometers 
during  that  period  0"  .400,  temperature  60°  to  75°.  Barometer  E,  as 
observed  for  and  noted  in  the  journal  of  the  academy: 

=  Fremont's  Troughton  (T.)— 0"  .136  =  Fremont's  Carey  (C.) 
—0"  .178. 
Range  in  the  differences: 

Mean  E       =  Fremont's  Troughton  (T.)— 0"  .136  =  Fremont's  Carey  (C.)— 0"  .178 
Minimum  =  "  "— 0".116=  "  "       0"  .167 

Maximum  =  "  "   —0"  .150  =  "  "       0"  .190 

Range         =  "  "       0"  .034  =  "  "       0"  .023 

In  the  annexed  observations,  the  barometers,  Troughton  and 
Carey,  are  designated  respectively  by  the  letters  T.  and  C.  In  calcu- 
lation the  observations  at  the  upper  stations  were  referred  to  the 
single  corresponding  observations  for  the  relative  period  of  time  at 
the  lower  station.  It  would  perhaps  have  been  better  to  refer  to  the 
mean  of  the  observations  for  the  month  at  the  lower  station.  In  cal- 
culation, the  tables  used  were  those  of  Bessel  and  of  Oltmanns,  as 
given  in  Humboldt. 
















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The  Expedition 

of  1843-44 
to  Oregon  and  California 

62.  John  Torrey  to  Asa  Gray 

Princeton,  March  26th  1843. 
My  dear  friend 

Fremont  has  at  last  communicated  to  me  his  plans  for  the  ensuing 
season.  He  is  to  leave  Washington  about  the  5th  of  April — &  before 
the  1st  of  May  he  expects  [to]  be  beyond  the  western  frontier  of  Mis- 
souri. He  "proposes  crossing  the  mountains  to  the  south  of  the  Great 
Pass — range  along  their  western  bases — visit  the  mountainous  region 
of  the  Flat  Head  Country — probably  go  as  far  down  as  Fort  Van- 
couver— &  return  by  the  heads  of  the  Missouri."  This  will  do!  I  have 
already  given  him  directions  for  collection  &  preserving  specimens 
&  he  promises  to  pay  attention  to  what  we,  of  course,  consider  the 
main  object  of  the  expedition.^ 

Yours  affectionately, 

John  Torrey 

ALS,  RC  (MH-G).  Addressed,  "Prof.  A.  Gray,  Harvard  University,  Cam- 
bridge, Mass." 

1.  A  few  weeks  later  Torrey  wrote  Cray  again,  expressing  a  fear  that  his 
catalogue  of  Fremont's  plants  would  be  poorly  printed.  "I  have  only  received 
one  proof  sheet,  &  that  was  as  bad  as  it  could  be.  The  whole  style  of  the  thing 
was  changed  from  my  Mss.  I  wished  it  set  up  like  my  Rocky  Mo[untain] 
paper  but  they  made  it  purely  Etonian,  &  employed  a  very  fine  type.  The 
extra  copies  that  I  requested  have  not  been  sent  to  me  &  if  they  are  as  bad 
[as]  I  fear  they  will  be  I  shall  destroy  the  whole"  (rodgers,  158). 

63.  J.  J.  Abert  to  Fremont 

Bureau  of  Topi  Engineers 
Washington  April  22  1843 

Allow  me  to  call  your  attention  to  certain  vouchers  which  your 

accounts  require,  namely  the  vouchers  from  the  Chouteaus,  and  the 

one  of  the  last  payment  to  Mr.  Nicollet.  These  must  be  forwarded 

before  you  start  on  your  expedition  to  the  West.  Very  Respectfully 

Sir  Your  Obt.  Servt., 

J.  J.  Abert 

Col.  Corps  T.  E. 

Lbk  (DNA-77,  LS,  6:225). 

64.  J.  J.  Abert  to  Fremont 

Bureau  Topographical  Engs. 
Washington  April  26th  1843 

It  appears  to  me  to  be  no  more  than  a  just  tribute  to  your  exertions 
that  I  should  express  my  great  personal  as  well  as  official  satisfaction 
with  your  report  which  has  now  been  printed,  reflecting  credit  alike 
upon  your  good  taste  as  well  as  intelligence.  It  is  by  efforts  like 
these  that  officers  elevate  their  own  character  while  they  also  render 
eminent  public  services;  and  while  they  also  contribute  to  the  stand- 
ing and  usefulness  of  their  particular  branch  of  service. 

Perseverance  in  the  course  you  have  commenced  cannot  fail  to 
lead  to  distinction  and  to  impress  you  with  the  gratifying  reflection 
that  while  your  labors  bring  credit  to  yourself  they  also  diffuse  it  to 
others.  Very  Respectfully  Your  Obt.  Servt., 

J.  J.  Abert 
CI.  C.  T.  E. 

Lbk  (DNA-77,  LS,  6:227). 


65.  Fremont  to  Stephen  Watts  Kearny 

[ca.  8  May  1843] 








(1  1 


Oregon  Territory. 









Carriage  complet 














Pounds  of  artille 



Required  May  8,   1843 









Sir:  I  have  been  ordered  to  make  an  exploration,  military  and  geo- 
graphical, principally  to  connect,  on  the  line  of  communication 
usually  travelled,  the  frontiers  of  Missouri  with  the  mouth  of  the 
Columbia.  In  the  course  of  the  service  I  shall  be  led  into  countries  in- 
habited by  hostile  Indians,  so  that  it  is  absolutely  necessary  to  the 
performance  of  this  service  that  my  party,  consisting  of  about  thirty 
men,  be  furnished  with  every  means  of  defence  which  may  conduce 
to  its  safety. 

I  have  accordingly  made  the  above  requisition  for  the  necessary 
arms,  which  I  trust  you  will  be  able  to  issue. 

Respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 

J.  C.  Fremont, 
2d  Lieut.  Topographical  Engineers. 

Printed  in  "Message  of  the  President  communicating  the  correspondence  re 
the  mountain  howitzer  taken  by  Lieutenant  Fremont  on  the  expedition  to  the 
Oregon,"  Senate  Doc.  14,  28th  Cong.,  1st  sess..  Serial  432.  While  the  requisi- 
tion is  undated  it  must  have  been  near  8  May,  for  on  that  date,  Stephen  Watts 
Kearny  (1794-1848),  who  was  in  command  of  the  Third  Military  Depart- 
ment with  headquarters  at  Jefferson  Barracks,  near  St.  Louis,  and  who  was 
a  friend  of  the  Benton  family,  ordered  Capt.  William  H.  Bell,  commanding 
the  St.  Louis  Arsenal,  to  issue  the  requisition  as  Fremont  was  "to  leave 
to-morrow  and  therefore  has  not  time  to  hear  from  Washington."  He  assured 


Bell  that  he  (Kearny)  assumed  "the  whole  responsibility."  Bell  obeyed  the 
"positive  order"  reluctantly  and  two  days  later  wrote  his  superior  in  the 
Ordnance  Office  in  Washington,  Lieut.  Col.  George  Talcott,  and  asked  for  his 
sanction  "to  this  issue"  and  noted  that  "if  in  this  matter  I  have  erred,  I  hope 
the  colonel  will  perceive  that  it  has  been  in  consequence  of  being  placed  in  a 
dilemma  of  some  difficulty  and  that  it  has  been  from  a  want  of  anything 
but  a  respect  for  the  order  and  regulations  of  my  department." 

66.  P.  Chouteau,  Jr.,  and  Company 
to  Employees  of  the  Company 

Saint  Louis  10  May  1843 
To  ANY  Gentlemen  associated  with  our  House  or 


This  will  be  presented  by  Lieut.  }.  C.  Fremont  of  the  U.  S.  Top- 
ographical Engineers  on  a  tour  to  the  Pacific  Ocean  in  the  service  of 
the  Government  whom  we  beg  to  recommend  in  a  particular  man- 
ner to  your  kindness  &  attention — and  to  whom  we  request  you  will 
extend  such  aid  &  assistance  as  may  from  circumstances  be  nec- 

As  the  pursuits  of  the  Gentleman  are  for  the  public  good,  we  trust 
you  will  not  hesitate  to  comply  with  his  wishes  &  cheerfully  attend 
to  the  wants  &  requirements  of  Lieut.  Fremont  in  case  of  need.  Very 
truly  yours  &c. 

P.  Choteau  Junr.  &  Co. 

ALS,  RC  (CLSM). 

67.   J.  J.  Abert  to